It's gray and rainy here in central NC today. When I was a kid there was nothing that could crush me more than rain on Halloween. Halloween has been my favorite holiday for as long as I can remember, followed by Thanksgiving. I loved dressing up, and I still do. I used to start planning my costume in June. It drove my mother nuts. Trick or Treating was fabulous, but I never really ate much of the candy. I'd pick out the Reese's and eat those, I'd eat the Mary Janes (LOVE THEM), and I'd eat the Tootsie Pops. Pretty much everything else went to my mom.
I think my favorite thing to receive in my pillow case was the coupon for a small fry at McDonald's. Do they still sell those?
When I was at Target yesterday I was looking over all of the bagged things they sell these days to put in Trick or Treat bags. Tiny boxes of crayons, small cheap games. Loads of fun things. My mom used to give out nickels, because she figured kids could go to the Manor and buy their own candy. And they could have. They still had "penny" candy when I was a kid.
I know the other kids hated her for that. I knew a lot of kids who hated the people who gave out coins. Weirdos.
Remember Whistle Pops? I wonder if they still sell those too. I still remember the commercials for them that they would show during It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.
I never ever had the opportunity to cut holes in a sheet and dress as a "ghost." In retrospect I wish I had at least once. In junior high I dressed as the Grim Reaper one year and went to the dance with a scythe that I had fastened black electrical tape to so the blade wouldn't hurt anyone. They confiscated it until the end of the dance anyway. I argued my case, but I lost. These days I would have been arrested for walking into the building with it.
No one Halloween stands out in my head as the best. I loved each and every one for different reasons. Actually, that isn't true. I remember the worst Halloween of my life. It was 9th grade, and my best friend and I dressed up and started our trip from house to house. After the first several houses greeted us with, "Oh I'm sorry, we're only giving to the little ones this year," we went home. I walked into my house and sat down and cried. It wasn't the candy. The candy wasn't what mattered. All I could think was, "NOW what do I do on Halloween?" I think I was crying for the loss of childhood. The loss of my favorite day of the entire year. At that point it hadn't occurred to me that I could do many many things to make the day special as I got older. I didn't yet understand the real meaning of the holiday.
As an adult I threw a Halloween party one year where I went all out. I roasted a turkey, and I filled tiny little gourds with a barley and sweet potato concoction and basically went nutty. It was fun, but I'll never do that again. I spent so much time working on it that I didn't get a chance to really enjoy it. With the move to the new house I do plan on Halloween parties again, but smaller ones. And we'll be far enough out from Raleigh in most folks' eyes I don't know if anyone would attend.
It's chilly and rainy and gray out there, but it's warm and light and smells good in my house. This is as it should be.
Happy Halloween. Happy Samhain.