Friday, October 28, 2011


Halloween is second only to Christmas in the amount of money Americans spend celebrating it.  This wasn’t always the case. In fact, the holiday, variously referred to as All Hallow’s Eve and Old Souls Day, has steadily increased in popularity since the 1920’s. What began as a Celtic festival called Salhain, a celebration of the harvest, has blossomed into quite a commercial affair.
            As a child, I was discouraged from trick or treating. My parents claimed that it was a kind of begging of sorts but I think it was more likely that they didn’t feel quite comfortable with my knocking on strangers’ door on the streets of New York.
           Fortunately they had no problem with my going to Halloween parties. And I went to many.  I remember old fashioned parties I attended where we “bobbed for apples” (people were less health conscious in those days) and told scary stories in the dark (while passing around items, such as overripe fruit, that were gross to the touch). We partied  beneath black and orange streams of crepe paper. Lots of fun. Great memories.
           As an adult, the parties continued and often got a little wilder than mere bobbing for apples.  I tried, before writing this, to recall all the many costumes I’ve worn through the years: Little Red Riding Hood, A French Can-Can Dancer, The Pink Panther, a  witch, Papillion (I dressed as prisoner, in striped pajamas having been invited to a somewhat pretentious “come as your favorite literary character” party). I wore fake fruit sewed to a turban when I dressed as Carmen Miranda one year. Probably my favorite getup, and one that I wore more than once was that of a Saloon Girl (I was wearing this when I met my future in-laws; their son was dressed as Spock).
           Nothing allows you to revisit your childhood and to enjoy Halloween more than getting to celebrate it with your children. Visits to the Pumpkin Patch, carving Jack-O-Lanterns (and roasting the seeds), going on the occasional hayride.  It was a rush getting them dressed as devils, gypsies, pirates, and an assortment of movie figures and Disney characters.
          When they were young, our neighborhood was the “go to” neighborhood for the premium trick or treat experience. Streets were lined with bumper to bumper kids and their parent chaperones. One couple around the corner supported the parents by serving up apple martinis. After we checked the bags of loot that were brought home for “suspicious looking candy inspection”, we’d wait for our children to graciously share what they knew were their parents’ favorites. (In my case, Dots and Good and Plenty)
          Again, lots of fun. Great memories.
          So what candies do kids (and adults) think fondly of?
          My list, in no particular order:

1.    Tootsie Rolls
2.    Snickers
3.    Kit Kats
4.    Neco Wafers
5.    3 Muskateers
6.    Twix
7.    Smarties
8.    Good n Plenty (or Mike & Ike’s for those who didn’t like black
9.    Twizzlers
10.   Dots
11.   Starbursts
12.   Mr. Goodbar
13.   Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
14.   M & Ms
15.   Raisinets
16.   Goobers
17.   Abazaba
18.   Almond Joy
19.   Chunky
20.   Whoppers

What was your favorite candy?

Have a great Halloween and thanks for joining me on this week’s journey



1 comment:

  1. Bobbing for apples isn't unhealthy. Apples are a very healthy food. Holding someone's head down under the water while they're bobbing for apples -- now that's unhealthy!