Back in the day, planning for Halloween never included a trip to the “Halloween store”. There was no such thing as a Halloween store, those hateful places are new. We had to forage in the cedar closet and storage area for our costumes. There were an awful lot of Korean Princesses and Army Doctors; with an odd assortment of rigid plastic masks and smock-like “costumes” that mom would just tie on top of whatever clothes we were already wearing.
poor Julie. What is she? A rhino-challenged demon?
We’d suffer through dinner and wait for the sun to go down, and then we’d grab an empty pillowcase and descend on the neighborhood. Dad and Dr. Cronin would accompany whichever of the eleven kids between them were at the appropriate age and level of coolness for trick or treating on any particular year. They’d carry the flashlights, shouting hello to the neighbors as we barreled to each door and back and then raced onward to the next house. When we had successfully traversed the mighty trek down Jackson, we took a much needed rest at the Taylors’, where we kids would be invited in to bob for apples while the grown ups
bobbed for vodka freshened their cocktails.
What? You don’t carry cocktails when you take your kids trick or treating? What are you, a communist?
Once our pillowcases were sufficiently stuffed, we’d head down to one or the other of the basements of our adjacent houses for massive strategic sorting, and then the bartering would commence.
One of the highlights of our Halloween outing was the annual visit to the big white house across the street. They were locally famous for their Halloween offerings, and many a carload of kids would descend on our neighborhood each year to join the line up of hooligans waiting for their turn at the candy buffet. The bounty was plentiful. They not only had full sized candy bars, but they also had bowls of money! That was just so opulent; it added such intrigue to our perception of the riches that were surely hidden at that enigmatic address.
There is a similar story in our current neighborhood; one of the beautiful big houses on the canyon gave out quarters for a couple of years in a row. My kids couldn’t wait to get there last year, and they were not disappointed - although there was no money involved. They were giving out Halloween chachkies! Witch shaped candles, pumpkin ceramic mugs, ghost figurines, you name it. They said it was just all of the
crap treasure they had collected during over the years, and this time when they took out the Halloween boxes, they decided to be done with it. Genius. I can’t wait to see what they offer this year.
Okay, maybe hate is too strong a word...