Trick or Treat!

By Guest Writer, Jim Lloyd

Adults with too much time on their hands can write about the history of Halloween, which countries and cultures contributed which traditions, and all that. But when you were a kid in the good old US of A, a few years back, before all the health concerns, before the annual screaming headlines about just how really awful candy is for you, before sickos hid things in the candy to hurt you ( as if the candy itself wasn’t really bad enough), Halloween was that most wonderful night of the year.

You got to dress up in a costume (we mostly had a group of buddies proudly wearing gear from the local Army-Navy Store) and walk around like we had just returned from knocking the ever-lovin’ HECK out of the bad guys. And you walked all over town ringing doorbells shouting “Trick or Treat” even though nobody ever knew exactly what that meant, and collected a pillowcase full of CANDY!

Let me repeat that, CANDY! It was glorious!

There were penny candies (remember those sugar coated soft chewy green spearmint things? or the orange slices? or those little wrapped rectangular things with the several layers of different colors…strawberry, vanilla, chocolate?) There were those little pieces of hard candies you were supposed to suck on (rootbeer barrels, butterscotch discs, mints) but you always ended up just chewing them. And the mints were always left for last because after a couple of those, you couldn’t taste anything for a couple minutes. There were the licorice sticks, black or red. Back home you poured a tall glass of milk, bit off both ends, and used it as a straw until it got soggy, then you just ate it.

There was candy corn by the pound which always came around again in bowls on the Thanksgiving table. There was lots of bubble gum. Bob Brown once chewed ten pieces at once. There was the occasional apple, the occasional home made candy apple (now you’re talking), and popcorn balls.

And then there was CHOCOLATE! There were the little mini-candy bars, and even the once-in-a-while full sized version. Reese cups… oh, sorry, I was just staring at the wall for a minute. Mars Bars, Twix, Mounds, (plain and with almonds), Hersheys Bars (dark and milk chocolate) , Hersheys kisses, white chocolate (remember Zero bars?), and a couple varieties of chocolate covered toffee bars that you could not keep in the refrigerator because when they were chilled, you broke a tooth trying to chew them. There was the Sky Bar (it had five different mini bars all molded together with five different fillings, each better than the last.)

I got to the point where, depending on which end I started at, I knew what was next and could ‘set’ my mouth in anticipation to fully appreciate the next filling. And then there were chocolate covered peanuts in little boxes (Goobers), and the Turtles, chocolate covered peanuts and caramel candy bars individually wrapped for your convenience. And I remember the day I had my first Mallo cup. They were good, don’t get me wrong, but I never got over the feeling that they were just an attempted knock-off of my Reese cups

Well, pardon me, I just got back from a thorough inspection of the kitchen. Not a damn piece of chocolate anywhere! The world has so changed. I’m in my early sixties now with grand-kids popping up left and right. I hope they get to know the joys of Halloween as I did. I ate thousands of pounds of chocolate. And I’m only missing a few teeth. And I’d trade a few more right this minute for a Reese cup.

Now let’s see, where are my car keys?