Friday, October 23, 2009

Give me a call, we'll go trick or treating together

I was reminded this week about why I dislike Halloween so much.

As if I needed another reason to dislike Halloween. This from the woman who calls herself the Halloween Grinch.

Anyway, my big revelation this week was all about the Halloween drama. About a month before Halloween, kids start asking, "Who are you going trick or treating with?" A month! A month is a long time in kiddom, folks. And once you commit, you're stuck. But if you don't commit, you're out.

It's a fine and trickly line they walk, let me tell you.

But I digress . . .

Let me use my own experiences as an example of what I'm sort of talking about. See, I grew up on a farm and trick or treating from a farm can be either A) time-consuming, B) embarrassing, or C) exhausting. All three, if you were me.

See, when I was very young, trick or treating meant packing us little kids into the car and driving to some of our neighbors' houses. Of course, our neighbors were all old farmers and their wives made homemade popcorn balls instead of giving out the Baby Ruths, so that was a bummer unto itself. Plus I had to go with my mom, so . . . another bummer. In the end, your little treat sack had about three pieces of candy in it for all the effort, and by the time you had driven around to get these three gross lucious, homemade treats it was dark and you were tired.

See what I mean?

And talk about embarrassing. One year, I distinctly remember dressing up as a cowgirl with a snazzy costume complete with a swirly skirt, cowboy boots, a lasso, and a mask. I looked amazing. But that night, as it so often does in October, the weather had taken quite a turn, so my mom made me wear my winter coat OVER MY COSTUME. Are you kidding me, Mom? I was so mad, I don't think I even got out of the car that year.

I lived for junior high when I could go to town and walk around trick or treating with my friends. But the problems were manifold with that.

My first problem was finding some friends who lived in town AND who would ask me to join their group trick or treating. I always felt like a third wheel, like I just didn't belong with them since they had all been trick or treating on their own for so long and I just wasn't as refined in the area of house to house sales, if you will.

The second problem I encountered was actually hinting enough to get someone to even ask me to go with them. Junior high kids are clueless. They just don't notice if someone doesn't have anyone else to hang out with on Halloween. It's like they just don't even care if someone is on their own.

(Not that I have any Halloween baggage or anything.)

And that's where the drama begins. Finding the right group is one thing. Getting someone to notice you is another altogether.

For some reason, it seems like Halloween conjures up all kinds of likes-me-likes-me-not stuff, especially with girls. It brings with it the stigma of the "right" costume, the "most fun" friends, the "coolest" treat bag. And the stigma of not getting asked at all, leaving you with the very real possibility of driving around in the car with Mom and Dad and wearing your winter coat over your costume.

Not that we'd know anything about all that around here this week. . . .

How about you? What's your Halloween baggage?


  1. Can't think of any particular baggage aside from overeating candy one time. But instead of the whole trick-or-treating thing for my kids, we started a tradition called The Halloweenie Roast. We go to my parents and have a Weenie Roast with the other cousins and aunts and uncles. There was always a treasure hunt that my dad prepared, although this will be the first HR that he is not at, so not sure if anyone will pick it up. To sum it all up, I hate Halloween. But the HR has turned out to be a really fun tradition for my fam.

  2. Oops. I'm using my daughter's computer. That was posted by Susan Taylor!

  3. I hate and or dislike Halloween so much now.

    I loved it as a child. My folks would take us up to Lisbon to go trick or treating with the cousins. We had to go with the older kids until we were old enough to go on our own.

    There was a wonderful elderly lady who gave out a gospel tract, homemade popcorn ball and a dime to each child. We weren't crazy about the food and the tract but the dime. Oh, the dime was pure good old American money!

    The Lisbon cousins always had the info on whose houses were the ones to stay away from and which ones had good treats. One guy always made us do a trick before we could get our treat. And Mrs. Rehberg always had a scary set up in her garage or by the front door. I hated going to her house but everyone else wanted to so I stayed quiet so I wouldn't be looked down on as the baby.

    When we got back to Uncle Bill's house we would dump our bags out in the living room on the floor so the adults could take the stuff we didn't like.

    Now, Halloween is about being gruesome and demonic. I hate that. We had fun making some original costumes back in the day.

    I DO remember having to wear the winter coat and how that totally RUINED the concept of wearing a costume.

    I would have taken you with me if only I had known you sooner!

  4. Halloween was a blast at our house! We'd carve pumpkins and roast the seeds. And plan our costumes a few weeks in advance, since mom usually made them. We were clowns; gypsies; 50s girls with poodle skirts; and one year, an M&M box. (Peanut!)

    Both my dad and mom would really get into the spirit (no pun intended) of things by decorating the outside of the house with cornstalks, pumpkins, hay bales and other Halloween-type decorations. Dad would also play Disney's "Haunted Mansion" record album on the stereo and put a speaker in the front window, so when kids would come up the walk they'd hear creaks and moans and other "scary" noises.

    It was also my dad's birthday and every few years or so we'd have a huge party with all the relatives. All the grownups, as well as the kids, would dress up. We'd bob for apples, play games, eat great food--including homemade popcorn balls!--and stay up late!

    Hmmm. Hadn't thought about this for a long time. I like the memory. Thanks, Shelly!