Halloween: Candy, Costumes, Dad--Now and Always

Halloween is about the candy. Make no mistake. It is about everybody and his brother going to Wal-Mart, loading up on bags of miniature candy bars of every variety and even those nameless fudge eyeballs and the crazy Halloween Peeps, and dumping exactly one piece in the festive bag of each and every little costumed kid who rings the bell.

And it's about eating the stuff. Hear this, all you dentists who trade candy for PR from our unsuspecting youth: Get lost! The gift of mini candy bars is about kindness, not cavities. Hear this, all you mommies who throw candy in the garbage: Get lost! Let Halloween be the gesture of kindness it is without making it about your neuroses. The candy will be gone or forgotten before any serious damage can be done.

Halloween is about the costumes. It's about pulling together whatever you can think of to look like someone or something else for a little while and making others laugh or smile. Doesn't have to be that Renaissance Fair rental stuff. No need to rent the French Maid for the night, either. Raid your dad's closet; dig out mom's prom gown, sew together something shiny or black or green and be a witch or a ghost or statue or what have you. It doesn't take much.

I had a friend who once took two round orange plastic table cloths and made himself over into a 6' 6" pumpkin to amuse my daughter and her friends at her birthday party. Another time, he sacrificed a queen-sized sheet to become you'll never guess what. This dear and wonderful friend was the heart and soul of our fun. It's about the fun. Make no mistake.

Halloween is about your dad being a few paces behind you as you went door-to-door and prayed to God the man inside wasn't some smart alec who would request a trick. (Nowadays that kind of request could get him arrested.) The warmth and lights, the smell of recently cooked food, the sounds of dinner dishes being washed by invisible hands in the kitchen, the elderly woman offering up the Hershey bars laid out on a silver tray as if you were the Queen of Egypt, the weak voice saying, "Take whatever you like, dear," because she knows she can trust you to take one and your dad's right there anyway....You're safe and the world is good.

Halloween is about opaque darkness and useless distant stars that suggest a plan you don't know anything about. It's about a lost moon not lighting your way. It's about the Jack O'Lantern slowly imploding as the votive burns itself out. The bark of a dog. The screech of a cat.

Your candy on the dining room table awaiting dad's inspection. (Funny, but something was a little wrong with all those Snicker's bars.) Morning comes and you have a coffee can all your own full of the generous bounty gathered from the neighbors you would otherwise never know.

Did you say thank you? That was dad, a few paces behind reminding you that in a world of give and take, gratitude is everything.

was Halloween for me when I was a kid; that's Halloween now for mine.

Lifecruiser's Halloween Party


  1. Anonymous2:20 AM

    Halloween is a parent becoming a child again for a night. That's what makes for a hallowed evening, in the child's eyes. The world can be no safer than we permit. Great post, Sandy!

  2. That is true...Halloween is one of the few times when you meet most of your neighbors.

  3. I love to give out candy to the kids. You are right about Halloween being about giving and to strangers no less. Yes, the kids will eat too much but they will enjoy the evening if we let them.

  4. Thanks for stopping by to read about my childhood memories of Halloween. I agree with everything you've said here!! It's for the KIDS!!

  5. I used to love it when the kids come trick or treating, but in my business which is also my home we don't get trick or treaters.
    When my kids were young i too enjoyed being out there with them.
    yup never let the kids eat anything till we came home and inspected everything. Sorry to say once we got the popcorn and it was filled with glass. unfortunately we didn't even remember were the house was that gave them out.Thank goodness we had the rule of no eating before inspecting.

  6. Anonymous6:41 PM

    As your dad it was my job to keep you safe thats why i ate the snickers. enjoy the night................

  7. Hi Sandy,

    As an Aussie, I know very little about Halloween - aprt from my native intelligence as a (fairly) well-read parent.

    I loved your first line - it's all about the candy. And I think I also agree with Greg Finnegan's comment as well.

    The novel's over (kicks up heels) and I'm back in blogland!!

    Keep smiling


  8. Anonymous9:35 PM

    that was a joy to read; and a chuckle of memories following my kids down the street... though I am curious; what did he make himself into with the queen sized sheet???

  9. I knew that, dad...!

    Ascenders, he was the biggest ghost I ever saw.

  10. Anonymous1:56 AM

    There should be more celebration like Halloween, not exactly like it but that part allowing grownups to be childish again.... *giggles*

    I've linked to your post too.

    Welcome to the cyber cruise Halloween party - it has started already and will go on all wednesday :-)

    Bring all your monsters and ghoul friends with you....


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