As a child Halloween was probably my favorite holiday. I always remember hoping it fell on a weekend so that we could sleep in after we crashed from a night of intense sugar and adrenaline rushes. Staying up late, running around the neighborhood, and eating more candy than was ever otherwise allowed can really wear a kid out.
Halloween always started for me about three weeks before the day itself. My three brothers and I would pick out our costumes. When we were really young this meant going to the store and picking out a pattern and fabric. Our aunt Peggy would sew all of our costumes for us and we loved how they turned out. As we got older and the group of cousins broadened, Peggy’s poor fingers wore out and we bought costumes from the big retailers. This happened just in time for us, since as we got older we like scarier things that felt costumes just couldn’t provide. Where ever they came from the costume was essential, if you couldn’t be the evil creature you wanted to be it was devastating.
On the afternoon of Halloween it was time to get ready. You wanted to make sure that you had your costume and make up on by sun down and had an empty pillowcase ready to go. My brothers and I tended to go as long and as fast as possible, and we found that no other container held quite as much, or stretched to fit more, as a pillowcase. With all of the plans set and all of the preparations made we would set out. Usually this entailed walking down two blocks on one side of the street and coming back up the other heading over one street and repeating until there were no lights left on. When it was cold my dad would usually follow us in the van, giving us a little place to warm up and rest, as well as allow us some time to sample the fruits of our labor.
At the end of the night, usually several miles from home, we would begin our trek back. If the van wasn’t there because it was a warm year it could get a little scary and involved a lot of running. Who knows what teenagers were out reeking havoc or stealing little kids’ candy. These thoughts made us run at any sound in the darkness, but they always helped us get home quickly. Once safely in our house it was time to sort, count and trade. The four of us would spread out our goods in a section of the living room and make trades for candy we liked more. I would trade away all my licorice or anything with coconut. Terrible stuff, and usually ended up much happier for it. At the end of the night, with my candy safely hidden from my brothers, I would try to sleep with sugar still coursing through my veins and a little bit of adrenaline still making me jumpy. This, to me, was the all American Halloween. It had a little adventure, a lot of excitement and a ton of candy.