I loved trick-or-treating. I loved putting on my little vinyl one piece Wonder Woman outfit and donning that plastic mask that was held on by rubber bands and staples. I could never get my nose holes to go anywhere near my nostrils so by the end of the night the inside of my mask was covered in exhale condensation. I loved the few minutes before it was “OFFICIALLY” trick-or-treat, the anticipation of knowing that in an hour or two I would have enough candy to last me for quite a while. I loved the smell of burning leaves as I started off in search of my loot.
Here’s what I didn’t love so much: I didn’t love that we were only allowed to trick-or-treat at the houses of people we knew because we didn’t know very many people in the neighborhood ( sing along, you know you want to: in the neighborhood, in the NEIGHborhood) so our stash would be low considered to the kids who were allowed to run around all willy nilly through several neighborhoods where they knew no one and had better chances of eating a razorblade. I didn’t love that the only neighbors we did know were elderly. Not that I don’t respect my elders or that I have a problem with senior citizens. But by the end of my night my orange pumpkin was not full of fun size Snickers, Butterfingers or Milky Way bars. No. By the time our allotted two hour of candy begging was over, my bucket was always full of root beer barrels, butterscotch disks, chick-a-sticks, pre-packaged popcorn balls, handfuls of pennies for Unicef and the most hated orange and black wrapped pieces of peanut butter “kisses.” This is quite possibly the Ishtar of all candies.
The best part of trick-or-treating was coming home and dumping the loot all over the floor to sort it out and get ready for trade. This, of course, came after the parental inspection for any suspicious looking treats: slightly opened toffee rolls, busted Pixie Stix, unpackaged candy of any kind and the ever-urban-mythed: razorblades in apples (in all my years of begging for candy I have never been given an apple. Not once. And if I had been given an apple it would have been fastballed back at their door after they closed it.) Trick or Treat. Not Trick or Give-Me-Something-That-Will-Help-Me-Poop.
Upon peeling off the thin vinyl one piece costume and tearing off the now, quite moist plastic mask, the pumpkin is unceremoniously dumped on the living room floor. The real work now begins. The first task is to take the unwanteds (see above, also known as elderly candies) and set them aside. Then you must organize and inventory the remaining candy. Chocolate goes in one corner, mini packets in another and the cheap hard candy assortment off to one side. The trading begins. If all is in perfect harmony in the family, this will be an enjoyable task. For instance, if your brother likes orange candy and you do not and you like mint chocolate and he does not, smooth sailing. If this is not the case, things can get tricky. Strategies must be employed to gain the best harvest. Negotiations can get tense. The talks can take up to fifteen minutes but hopefully in the end, everyone gets what they want and no punches were thrown.
Now the eating begins. If it were up to me, I would devour the entire contents in one sitting, run around the room on a sugar high and then crash with a severe case of the shakes, only to repeat the process ten minutes later.
But it was never up to me. After the anticipation, the hard task of working up the nerve to knock on doors and beg for candy, the anxiety of wondering how much candy will pass inspection and the tension of the trade talks, the evening ends with me sitting on the floor with half a chewed tootsie roll in my mouth as the candy is whisked away and rationed out over the next several weeks.
They say that often people who were deprived of food hoard it later on in life when they have freedom and choice.
Halloween may be the reason why I ate my weight in sour gummy worms last night.