Tonight is Halloween. When I was the age to trick or treat, I knew the neighbors whose homes I would visit. We talked for weeks about what costume I would wear, what tricks I would do, and what sorts of treats I would like. One year, an elderly man on my block promised me he would stand in his hands. I had mastered standing on my head, but standing on my hands seemed much harder. When I got to his door, I reminded him of his promise. He bent over, put his hands on the floor and then put his feet on top of his hands. “That’s cheating!” I said, indignantly. He laughed.
When I was finally old enough to be visited by trick-or-treaters, I spent the day making popcorn balls, which had been one of my favorite treats when I went door-to-door. My neighborhood children refused the treats. They said they weren’t allowed to have home-made food. Only store-bought wrapped candies. I asked if I could talk to their parents. It seemed to me that if they trusted me to feed their children at all, they should trust me to make popcorn balls without razor blades or rat poison. But their parents weren’t with them. They left, eager to get to a house with candy in wrappers.
The next year, I bought wrapped candy. That year, children I didn’t know came to my door. They complained that I’d bought little candy bars. They wanted regular sized candy.
I like my neighborhood children. I like seeing them in costume having a good time. I like making popcorn balls. I do not like a bunch of begging children I don’t know demanding commercial products.
I now celebrate Halloween by locking my doors, turning off my lights and going to bed early. I’ll see my neighbhood children at a block party where they aren’t afraid to eat my home made goodies.