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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Like Piles, Reflections on Halloween Night

I know, I know Halloween is gone, it's 6 days later...but thought I post this  anyway since i started it Halloween night...and maybe it's about more than Halloween.

It's cool outside, but not so cool that you couldn't go for a walk with just a sweater and some thin gloves. Some of the leaves have fallen off the trees, enough to scrunch under your feet, while others hold on tight.  It's been that type of day where you can feel the coolness in your nostrils outside, the type of day that when you come inside, the comforting heat hits you and you know it's gonna be a good night.
The steps in our neighborhood are dotted with jack-o-lanterns carved in elaborate patterns. "Doesn't anyone just do the triangles anymore?" said a co-worker in the staff room during a break today. It got me laughing and thinking about how simple things used to be.  

I am sitting in my living room in total darkness aside from the light  from my computer screen. There's a couple of candles in the big living room window, and a jack-o-lantern with a tea candle inside it's body. We put some  clear Christmas lights on the front step to make the place seem inviting, yet dark enough to be slightly scary to the little ghouls and goblins in search of tricks or treats.  So far we have had 7 kids.  I can only remember a giraffe, two pirates, a train, (perhaps the little engine that could (?), and a princess. All the costumes were bought it seemed, that's what they do these days. Guess that's the new fun way and perhaps some day someone like me will blog about fond memories of shopping at WalMArt for the perfect costume, or remember that weird lady with the orange scarf on her head, the one with the black cat in her arms who lived in the scary dark house with candles in the window, the one that the gave them three really good treats.

Only one kid said "trick or treat", the tiny giraffe who also wanted to ring the doorbell because that is what she was told to do.The rest just held their bags open...but that's not their faults because when they held their bags open I added treats!  Most said thank you. A pirate asked if he could have two choc bars. At least he asked.

This is one of my favorite nights of the year, but not because I like getting dressed up, although that's fun too. And I don't think it's because it is the eve of my birthday. But there is something comforting about this night. For me it marks the beginning of winter. 

I have fond memories of Halloween. Maybe it's as simple as I  left my house with an empty bag and came home with a big bag of treats all ready for the eating. I  didn't gobble all mine up at once though. I savored them. First, I  would empty the mysterious contents of my Dominion bag onto the floor, (Back then nobody frowned on the use of plastic supermarket bags). Then I would slowly and with such sweet anticipation arrange all the same things in one pile. Chips first (you mostly only got two kinds, the Hostess ones in the  blue foil bag or the cheap oily ones in the white, thin unmarked plastic bag) then, hard cheezies, soft cheezies, and all chocolate bars together (to be later separated into "exactly the same" pile). There were always lots of  rocket candies, gum, Tootsie rolls, and suckers of all colours. (these of course to be separated by colour and eaten in order of taste preference, all yellow ones to be given away) You might get some life savers, a package of four, but that was as exotic as it got, and yes, we got apples and oranges which were likely fine and that we actually were allowed to eat but were too afraid to because of all the stories about razor blades hidden in them.  That seemed about it back in those days, but what treats they were.

One very memorable year I  got a full can of RC COLA, and a full size CRUNCH bar from the Downey's who owned a store and lived across the street from us. I was certain the Gods had bestowed upon me a great gift for my good behavior in taking my little sister around with me. Another year I went out taking two bags with me because my big brother was sick. I remember saying, "trick or treat" twice every time and then explaining that my brother was home sick. It was true, but now that I think of it could have really used that one.

Yes, as I sit here in this room feeling all nostalgic, waiting for little trick or treaters, to ring my doorbell I resist the urge to go get dressed up myself, and instead I just organize the really good treats I'm giving out into like piles ready for the taking, and I remember.