Halloween is only a day away, so here is a piece I wrote called My Son’s Peanut Allergy Makes Halloween Extra Scary, which was published last week. If you have a child with a food allergy you may feel the same way.
Halloween isn’t my favorite time of year. I prefer what’s up ahead – Thanksgiving and Christmas. I loved Halloween as a kid, of course. Maine is perfect for Halloween. I loved the smells of fall, the crisp evening air, the bare, twisted tree branches that threatened to grab us as we walked in the darkness on Halloween night.
Candy Baskets? We Used Pillowcases
But Halloween was different then. Wasn’t everything? My family lived in a rural area with only two neighbors within walking distance, so it wasn’t like we came home with baskets full of candy. In fact, we didn’t use baskets at all. We used pillowcases.
I haven’t see a kid carrying a pillowcase to trick or treat in a long time. I didn’t think using a pillowcase was such a bad thing – it holds your candy, and then you sleep on it.
I loved the show Batman as a kid. Still love it as an adult, too. Every Halloween I wanted a Batman costume, but I never got one. I don’t really remember my costumes, although I do remember wearing some sort of painful plastic mask that was impossible to see out of and threatened to suffocate me. Dressing as a ghost and a hobo also come to mind.
The candy is different now, too. We used to get Snickers and Milky Way bars that were about a foot long. The Charleston Chews were 3 feet long! Well, maybe not. But it seemed that way. Compared to today’s inch-long, sad excuses for candy bars, they were huge.
Candy Apples and Popcorn Balls
We also used to get homemade items like candy apples and popcorn balls. The candy apples were not my favorite. You rarely see them today. One house in my current neighborhood used to give out popcorn balls, but they’ve kept their lights off for the past couple of years.
The big thing in our town is called Trunk or Treat, where kids go from car to car in a church parking lot for candy. The church is right in our neighborhood, about a half mile from our house. It’s very popular, but I’ve never been. It seems to take away from the magic of Halloween if you don’t go house to houses and yell “Trick or treat!” It’s designed as a safe alternative, but with my son’s peanut allergy, Trunk or Treat is not safe for us.
Some things have changed, but some haven’t. You don’t see many little ghosts in sheets or hobos stuffing huge candy bars, candy apples and popcorn balls into pillow cases nowadays. That’s probably a good thing. The costumes and many of the decorations are much better now. And the one thing that definitely hasn’t changed is how much kids look forward to Halloween.