My Family (a long time ago)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Trick or Treat

Halloween is just not as fun as it used to be. There was a time when my wife and I were the young couple in the neighborhood and our kids were the little ones. We’d take them around the neighborhood and everyone would say how cute they were – my son in his Sponge Bob, Woody and Vampire (way before Twilight ushered in the vampire phenomena) costumes, and my daughter in her Pocahontas, Dorothy and Minnie Mouse costumes. Now we’re the “old” couple with the older kids and we marvel at how cute all the little kids are. It’s kind of sad, one kid in college and another in high school and we’re relegated to the over-the-hill gang.

In the neighborhood we live in now, all the kids grew up at once. We used to have tons of kids walking around the streets and coming to our house, now we get about 15 or 20 kids. And half of them aren’t even from our neighborhood. But the little kids are still so cute! Especially when the kids do what kids do and not what the parents want them to do. One mother was trying to do the polite thing and get her little girl to say thank you. “Do you have something to say?” asked the mother. After no response, the mother asked again, “Don’t you want to say something?” The girl, starting to walk away, turned around and gave one of those irresistibly cute little kid smiles and said, “See you later!” Totally innocent and totally cute.

We had a great neighborhood for trick-or-treating when I was growing up. Nobody had a huge yard so the houses were kind of tightly packed together, which was great when we were little because we could do both sides of half the street in a relatively short amount of time and have enough candy to last for weeks. Well, that is, if we could have kept all our candy. When we got home we were allowed to keep some of the candy and the rest went into a big bowl that Mom was in charge of. I don’t remember how much we could keep for ourselves, but it was somewhere between not enough and too little. Nevertheless, we’d choose what we wanted for our private stash and Mom would either approve it or make us put more into the community bowl. You would have thought we were hoarding gold instead of Snickers, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and M&M’s. I always knew exactly how many of each type I had, just in case someone tried to steal one of my prizes. I don’t think that ever happened, but I just didn’t trust my older brothers. Sorry guys. 

When we got older and were able to go out on our own, we did our street and the next street over. Whoa baby, did we get a lot of candy! We got a little smarter as we got older, too. We ate some of the best stuff before we went home and had to give up most of the good stuff. We even got creative a couple of years and would go around once, mix and match our costumes, and go around again. Of course, most of the neighbors knew what we were doing and would give us the “Haven’t I already seen you tonight?” speech and not give us more. Back then, everybody knew everybody in the neighborhood, so even with costumes they knew who we were. However, there were a few neighbors who gave us more anyway and we added to our loot.

I vaguely remember what our costumes were like back then. I remember wearing a Casper the Ghost costume for a couple of years, which was a cheap pullover with one of those plastic masks that made your face sweat even if it was 30 degrees that night. I think I went out as a baseball player one year, which meant putting on my team jersey and hat and carrying my glove. Low cost or no cost costumes were the rule. I also remember going out as a girl when I was about 10 years old, borrowing my sister’s skirt, tights and shirt, and using the smaller end of L’eggs eggs for a chest. I wore a wig, too, but I have no idea where that came from. I never did that again because a couple of my friends were looking at me in an extremely creepy way all night. It kind of made my skin crawl.

Back in the present, the trick-or-treaters stopped coming fairly early and we were left with half of the candy we bought, even after we were giving out multiples to everybody and me and my son had a couple of pieces ourselves. The fun was over before it began. Sure, there were a couple of cute kids that came by, but there was just something missing. A terribly scary thought has just crossed my mind and I can’t believe I’m even thinking about it, but maybe when we have grandkids Halloween will be fun again. Until then I’ll just have to reminisce about how incredibly cute my own kids were on Halloween. Even as I marvel at how they've grown into pretty incredible young adults.

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