We aren’t stingy with Halloween candy

We aren’t stingy with Halloween candy
                        

Halloween is another great day ruined by the pandemic. Whatever Trick-or-Treat simulation you’re planning to do with your children at the end of the month, it won’t be the same as the knock at the door and the eager shout from behind suffocating masks. Well, yes, actually, there would be suffocating masks, just not the Boogeyman type.

Those plastic masks from Woolworth’s we used to wear were a torment. You couldn’t see where you were going in them without looking straight down at your feet, which made you apt to wander off the sidewalk and into a tree.

The elastic band that held them on invariably broke, leaving you with holding the thing over your face with one hand while you stuck your treat pumpkin out with the other. Maybe some kind neighbor would offer to wrap a big rubber band around your head to hold it on, but then the mask front would get a squish in the middle and it’d be even harder to breathe, even before the chin part filled with desperate mouth breathing drool and sweat.

It was always a gamble, in hindsight, going from house to house in a strange neighborhood — strange because you would single out a nearby route to case that had bigger, finer houses than your own Sketchy Street on the theory they would have better, pricier candy.

If you were lucky, you might get a full-sized Snickers instead of a special Halloween treat-size Mr. Goodbar. Or you might get invited in for a sip of cocoa and get to see how the Other Half lived.

You were, and your parents were, oddly trusting that other people troubled themselves to wash now and then. Looking through a 2020 lens, it all seems like an invitation to drop sticky-handed germs into your Petri dish of a bag.

Did I see that lady cough into her hand before she gave me these Sweet-Tarts? Has anyone taken these people’s temperature today?

Years ago we had the razor-laced apple urban legend to worry about. Now it’s the very real sweaty guy with the hairy knuckles in the smashed-up face covering worn uselessly under his nose. If he slides it down to talk to you, snap the bag shut and go to the next risky address. The chance that such a simpleton is going to have decent candy is zero, friend.

We like Halloween quite a lot around our house and got out all the orange lights, skull candles and spooky dishes more than a month ago. I found a new way to give my wife the jim-jams.

We have an old wind-up Victrola, and last week I unexpectedly played a dodgy, scratched-up, old record at very slow speed for background while we made dinner one night. I didn’t know a person could go so gray colored so quickly. It’s all about creating the right ambiance. “Well, that’s it,” she said. “Thanks for inviting actual spooks into the house. I’ll be burning sage all day tomorrow.”

Halloween is an excuse to buy candy and something to put the candy in — among the many bargains to be found because the younger generation failed to gain any interest in collecting gewgaws in silver bowls.

Remember those expensive Revere bowls we used to give as routine wedding gifts? They went into people’s closets and got good and tarnished. When the marriage ended for whatever reason, those bowls were one of the things no one fought over, and now they’re like dandelions at thrift shops, sitting on the shelf all blackened and forgotten for $5 or less.

A few minutes polishing and you have an impressive bowl to fill with candy, and I can tell you I never pass one of those bowls without buying it, so we’re getting our share of Halloween treats.

And we aren’t stingy, like the people in my childhood haunts. We fill them up with Dove chocolates, big caramels and anything else that sounds good. There are small ones for Sweet-Tarts and M&Ms, but the big ones get proper-sized candy bars. And we don’t make each other wear masks or beg at the door.

Remember that promise you made when you were 6? “When I’m a grownup, I’m gonna have Halloween candy whenever I want.”

Well, now I am, and now I do.


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