Halloween, when I was little (growing up in a conservative southern Baptist home), I remember my dad was not a very big fan of Halloween. He didn’t really like the idea of his kids running around dressed as demons asking for candy. Consequently, most years we ended up at a church “harvest festival” or they would let me dress up as Snoopy or a farmer and go to my grandparents’ house and our neighbor’s house across the street for trick-or-treating. Some years we would even stop by a few church members’ houses along the way. My great grandma would always give us a zip-lock bag of popcorn; my parent’s friends from church always gave us an apple or some other fruit. Needless to say, there were never any big surprises in my pumpkin on Halloween.
Then I discovered that it was actually more fun to just sit on my front porch and hand out candy rather than go trick-or-treating for two reasons. One, you got to see far more costumes as the kids were coming to you. Two, on the years that we just stayed home to hand out candy, my parents would buy a ton of it and as we sat on the porch handing it out, we also could help ourselves.
Regardless of how I spent Halloween, it was always fun and I think that is why to this day it is still my favorite holiday. But it is not just about the costumes and candy. I love the decorations, the weather this time of year, I love seeing tons of kids running around the neighborhood. It is just a really fun time of year.
I have spent the last 2 or 3 Halloween’s at a friend’s house. Up until this past year, my wife and I were living in apartments. For those of you who don’t know, when you live in an apartment complex, there are no trick-or-treaters that come around…ever. So my wife and I would go over to a friend’s house to watch the trick-or-treaters and hand out candy.
I cannot tell you the candy disparity there is between a kid dressed up in that irritating “Scream” mask and a kid in a Yoda or Princess Leia Costume. The difference can only be measured in handfuls. I am a sucker for Star Wars costumes, even the 20 year olds who show up wearing jeans and a white T-shirt but they have the Vader mask with flashing lights. I can’t help it, “two handfuls for you Lord Vader, don’t Force choke me!” Man, I love the stuff.
My biggest disappointment the past few years is no hobbits. I thought for sure that after the Lord of the Rings movies came out I would have a parade of hobbits showing up. Not one, not a dwarf, hobbit, elf, nothing. We have been going to the wrong neighborhood. Now I have my own house, my own kids who will be trick-or-treating for the first time this year and hopefully my house is in a hobbit friendly neighborhood/ shire.
My older son’s name is Harrison; he is named after Harrison Ford because my wife wouldn’t let me name our first son Han Solo. So obviously when I have my say, his first all out costume will be Han Solo. I guess that means I ought to put my younger son, Parker, in a wookie costume.
Last year my son was Elmo, I didn’t really have any control over that. At that point in his 1 year old life he ate off Elmo plates, drank out of Elmo cups, I think he even ate little Elmo’s and pooped Elmo’s, so Elmo it was. The year before however, when he was still in his “I’m an infant/ slug you can do with me what you will” stage, I dressed him up as Superman; it was awesome.
This year he is a Tiger, I’ll buy that, but next year it is full on light sabers. We have been working on saying “trick-or-treat” the last few weeks. He is only two so it’s a challenge for him. But the more I think about it, if he even gets it half right he’s bound to win cuteness candy. The thing I am not looking forward to is the end of the night when I have to take the candy away from him. He’s only two, but he knows what candy is, and when I try to take it away I am afraid there will be one angry tiger running around my living room.
So while the angry tiger is crying in his room, I will be sitting on my front porch with two bowls of candy one for the, look I’m a basketball player because I have on jeans and a jersey kid, and the other full of chocolaty goodness for the occasional Vulcan, Storm Trooper or member of the Justice League that stops by. If a kid shows up dressed like a hobbit, I might just let him take the whole bowl.