Monday, October 25, 2010


I don't know why I like Halloween so much, but I do. I understand, from talking with one of my new neighbors, we're not likely to get any trick-or-treaters on this street. How disappointing. I love All Hallow's Eve. Here on Riverbend Drive, a little witch is tied to the door knocker; two small ceramic jack-o-lanterns flicker on the dining room table (thanks to battery-powered tea-lights);and an electric jack-o-lantern leers from the kitchen window into the night's darkness. Three fresh pumpkins await the knife--probably Saturday morning.

We'll buy a bag of chocolate bars--"just in case." I find our obsession with hygienic treats a huge contrast to the attitudes and ignorance of my childhood. My mother always had imaginative ideas for original Halloween treats (I wonder how she ever thought of them without the help of Parents Magazine or Martha Stewart) for the dozens of trick-or-treaters who lived in our neighborhood. Because I was somewhat sickly as a grade schooler, Mother frequently pressed me into service as time ran short Halloween afternoon. Despite whatever cold, cough, or fever kept me home from school, I'd help wrap homemade treats--popcorn balls, molasses cookies, orange homemade sugar cookies--in decorative waxed-paper bags and tied them with ribbon.

One of the cutest treats we ever gave out were black gumdrop spiders --with legs made from black fuzzy pipe cleaners snipped to leg length--and small licorice gumdrop heads toothpicked onto the bodies. I handled each and every spider multiple times. When they were done, we wrapped them in Halloween-themed paper napkins and tied them with a black bow. I wonder how many costumed goblins who came to our door caught whatever virus I had . . .

Although I cringe with guilt thinking about those "germdrops," I was saddened when I learned last year that my granddaughters' school allows no homemade treats ever. Nowadays, even birthdays are celebrated with "store-bought" foods, not the lovingly made treats (typically cupcakes) enjoyed by my children in grade school. Obviously, there won't be any black gumdrop spiders brought to the classroom by an eager parent.

This year, Hubby and I hope to need the contents of a bag of mini-chocolate bars (we'll probably talk ourselves into two bags, just in case), but if no one rings our doorbell on trick-or-treat night, we'll undoubtedly gobble it all ourselves. Oh, darn . . . we'll try not to begrudge the little goblins their opting-out of our neighborhood.

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