Monday, November 01, 2010


I can't remember a single costume that I wore as a kid (and neither can Mom 80.7), but I do remember the single greatest treat I ever got while trick-or-treating.

I know I've written about this before (and after 9+ years, I must have written about everything before), but one year I was handed a Karo Syrup popcorn ball inside a plastic, pouch-style sandwich bag. Karo was a clear, light syrup, and it was the sweetest, most delicious thing I've ever eaten.

I went back to that house fifteen minutes later (hoping that would be long enough for them to forget me), but in that time, word had spread, and the popcorn balls were gone.

From that moment forward, Karo syrup popcorn balls became the Holy Grail of Halloween treats. I never found another one, though, and to this day, that's the only one I've ever had.

[This just in: Mom 80.7 just called and clearly remembers one year when I dressed as a "Chinaman." Remember, this was in the mid-1960s, and that word still meant a mysterious but wise figure dressed in a kimono, basically (yes, the kimono is Japanese, but it was Chinese before it was Japanese, apparently, not that I knew that as a five-year-old).]

Trick-or-treating in my day was an event. On Halloween, even the old woman who had fifty cats in her house and regarded you suspiciously every time you walked by gave you a piece of candy. You'd go down whole blocks and every single house would be giving out candy, and every single kid in the neighborhood would be lining up.

Plenty of people still made their own treats, too, although there was still a regrettable lack of Karo Syrup popcorn balls, obviously.

Kids still trick-or-treat today, but they don't know anything. There's no informal communication network advising as to the location of the best treats. There are no kids coming in from other cities in the back of pick-up trucks.

Mostly, kids just don't understand about candy.

Eli 9.3 came in last night after an exhausting thirty minutes of trick-or-treating (this generation has extremely low trick-or-treating stamina), and as he spread his collected candy in front of me and said, "Dad, I scored HUGE this year!"

It was a sad little pile.

Sure, there were probably eighty pieces of candy there, but in my day, when we had to walk ten miles through the snow to get to school, that amount of candy would have been inexcusable. Hell, you didn't have enough candy unless your parents were positively alarmed by the amount of candy. If they didn't lecture you for fifteen minutes about how you couldn't eat all that candy at once, then you had failed.

Mostly, Eli has a much cooler life than I did as a kid. There are exponentially more opportunities for a kid today than there were for kids 40+ years ago. When it comes to trick-or-treating, though, I'm sorry that Eli 9.3 can't go out with Me 9.3 and trick-or-treat in my old neighborhood.

I think we'd have fun.

Also, there's this:

That's Zeus, and the painted-on beard puts it totally over-the-top, as far as I'm concerned.

I have trick-or-treater data submitted from five different states, and I'm still hoping for a few more e-mails, so I'll share the results with you tomorrow.

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