Deb Amy Hangs The Moon On Some Halloween Memories

I live in a very small town. The official count on the official sign is officially 9200. It’s a family-oriented place, a great place to raise kids, but for some reason my neighborhood has always been Halloween-challenged.  I think the doorbell rang twice last year. Maybe three times. I didn’t recognize the kids and let them take as much candy as they wanted. I’m always hopeful that the tide will turn and I’m always ready.  Or maybe I just like mini Milky Way bars.

This is in direct contrast to the Halloweens of my childhood where I remember filling bags, dumping them out, and going back for more.  In my Northeast Philadelphia row house neighborhood, that meant walking (running) up about ten or twelve steps, knocking on two doors (usually someone I knew lived inside), then hauling the loot back down the steps and a few yards down the sidewalk to the next steps and next set of doors. Over and over again. For blocks. For hours.  After dark.  With a gaggle of friends. Even on a school night.

My grown-up, suburban Halloweens have never matched those childhood Halloweens.  Even after having kids, with trick-or-treat curfews (7pm!! Are you kidding?) and careful candy distribution, the holiday has lost its zip and its doo-da.  Kids can’t even have Halloween parties anymore. It’s a Fall Festival.  I get it. Times have changed. Candy is bad for your teeth. Not everyone celebrates everything. But really? One day a year to dress up and stay up late and pound the pavement begging for food is not going to hurt anyone.

But my Halloweens have not all been pathetic. Praise Pumpkins!

I think the best Halloween memories are from the years my family lived in Tucson, Arizona. After years on the East Coast and in the Midwest, a night outside in 70 degrees, no winter coats over or under costumes big-box store costumes, with the moon hanging full and low in the sky, was really one of the best things about living there. It was one of the best things ever – even as the mom.  Every year I remember the two Halloweens we spent in the Sonoran Desert, with flashlights to guide us, not so we didn’t trip over princess or Batman gear, but so that we didn’t trip over a snake. My kids may not remember the cook-outs beforehand, where the neighbors we knew along with the ones we’d never met would gather at the end of the cul-de-sac for hot dogs.  Where the lady on the corner left paper sacks out on her doorstep and instructed each child to take one — and how they did.  My kids probably don’t remember crossing the dry wash (a long-ago, dried-up stream bed) with tentative steps to go to the next street, and start all over again.  How every house was ablaze with decorations,  how being tired in the morning was not a concern.  How no one said, “You have enough candy.”  How everyone said, “Just one more house.”

Or, that might have just been me.

 

What is your favorite Halloween memory? And more important, what’s your favorite Halloween candy?

Image: Full Moon by Jaime Jaime Junior

 

 

14 thoughts on “Deb Amy Hangs The Moon On Some Halloween Memories

  1. Oh, so many to choose from! I was fortunate to grow up in the village of a small town so trick-or-treating was a very social affair–it was a time when you caught up with parents and kids and neighbors you didn’t see for stretches.

    I was (er, WAS?) a candy junkie when it came to Halloween. We have lots of pictures of me literally chipmunk-cheek stuffed with my stash. Now my girls are old enough to keep track of their loot. I can no longer dip in overnight. They KNOW.

    • Erika, you inspired me to add a question! What’s your favorite Halloween candy? Since I *try* not to eat candy often, I’d say that I love it all. Really if I’m dipping into the loot I look for Mounds. No one here likes coconut! But, it’s not one of the more popular treats. I adore Tootsie rolls. (And I do mean adore) No one here goes trick-or-treating anymore so unfortunately I am, as we like to say, SOL. :(

      • NOW you’re talkin’! There was a hierarchy, let’s be honest. (Of course, it all got eaten EVENTUALLY) At the top were Mounds and Snickers and Reese’s. I was never a sucker fan (but again, I powered through when they were all that was left;)) Junior Mints were fun but you got, what? Four a box? Gah.:)

        No more trick or treating for you, Amy? Poor you!! Do you at least have a stash for kids who come to the door?

        • I will buy candy that day, and I try to buy what I don’t like. When I knew the kids coming to the door I had two bowls of candy. One for the kids I knew (and liked) and one for the strangers! Didn’t want the neighborhood kids thinking I was stingy, you know? Now I don’t know any of them so it doesn’t matter. My doorbell will ring three times, at most. It’s pretty pathetic!!!

  2. Oh, I don’t have just one favorite, there are so many. Carving the jack o lanterns and the excitement of lighting them and seeing the glow behind the silly faces. Dressing up in a costume and ringing doorbells for candy. Dressing my own kids up in costumes and watching their excitement. Being out in the dark – an exhilarating sense of freedom with tinge of danger. Well, and candy, of course.

    • Okay — and so what’s the favorite candy? I neglected to mention candy corn above, which must be eaten by biting off each color. Duh. And none of that funky colored stuff. Just candy corn in its natural state of white, orange, and yellow. :-)

  3. I loved trick-or-treating as a kid. The only thing I didn’t love was being cold if it was a particularly chilly year. But I definitely had my favorites when it came to candy. I loved Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Mounds/Almond Joy, and Twix (Kit Kats ranked high up there, too). I also liked some of the fruity/sugary candy like Starburst, Skittles, Swedish Fish, and Nerds. I was never into Dots or Jujyfruits, though. I always thought they were pretty boring.

      • Hahaha, agreed! Btw, I totally don’t understand the aversion some people have to Mounds — and coconut in general. Mounds, Almond Joy, macaroons, and coconut cake are some of my favorite sweets out there, and yet some people detest them. I don’t get it!

        • I know! What Is the problem with coconut haters? I did make coconut macaroons from scratch (easy least) last Passiver and my daughter liked them. Not that I intended to share.

  4. I LOVE Coconut!! Mounds are my favorites now – though I have to admit as a kid I didn’t like them much. The worst houses were the ones that gave out in-the-shell peanuts or homemade popcorn balls (because my dad was recently out of the FBI and safety-conscious, and we weren’t allowed to eat anything that wasn’t wrapped at a factory). My favorites as a child were always the $100,000 bars. Caramel, crispies, chocolate…what’s not to love!

    These days, my husband insists that we give out “the good candy” (he received far too many Dum Dum pops as a child and apparently it scarred him for life – though I actually LIKE Dum Dums). In his world, that means the Snickers combo packs (which include my beloved $100,000 bars….), Hershey bars, and Milky Ways, regular and midnight. That said, I don’t think a single Milky Way Midnight bar has made it into the trick-or-treaters’ bags yet. That variety seems to disappear the second the bag is opened for “quality assurance testing.”

    • Quality is of utmost importance, Susan. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. And $100,000 Bars are at the top of my list too. Do you know now they’re called 100 Grand? Just doesn’t have the same pizzazz, does it? But in service to society I checked the taste and it is still top-notch.

      I know. I’m a giver.

  5. Ohhhh, I’m heading to Susan’s house! I have to admit, though, my stash will be KitKats and Twix, because my husband and I will end up eating them all. Amy, I know what you mean about the doorbell hardly ringing. We’ve barely had trick-or-treaters for years. I think the parents all take their kids to the sterility of the mall these days, because of all the safety risks and curfews.

    But my daughter is now two-and-a-half, so we’ll definitely be working the block this year. She’s going to be a love bug, and I need to find a costume, too, because I’m not trick-or-treating without one.

  6. I don’t remember a favorite Halloween, but I do remember a LEAST favorite. When I was in 10th grade, my older brother forced me (don’t ask how – he was very persuasive and probably threatened me with violence) to go trick or treating for him to get candy. He gave me a hat and a trenchcoat (since I was too old to actually have a costume) and drove me to a different neighborhood so I won’t be recognized. Well, until I knocked on my German teacher’s door and had to explain what I was doing. When I turned towards the car to point at my brother, he must have sensed he was about to get busted, so he drove off.

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