21 October 2010


One of the few things I like about Halloween is the candy corn. It's colourful, it's sweet, and it's relatively cheap. I'm sure it's full of all sorts of things I oughtn't to be eating, but I don't really care.

Halloween wasn't a huge thing when I was a kid. Sometimes we went trick-or-treating, sometimes we did something else. I think the years we did something else were less about being opposed to Halloween for various moral reasons (like some people we knew), and more about the fact that my parents didn't feel like getting four kids dressed up and walking them around the neighbourhood after dark so they could collect free candy which would then make them hyper. And whether or not we did go trick-or-treating, my grandparents always gave each of us a decent-sized bag of candy.

Add to that the fact that I was a very fearful child, prone to weeping if someone mentioned death (like the time my brother started talking about how the sun was going to blow up in a million years, and my parents tried to reassure me by telling me that we'd all be dead by then anyway. That didn't help). Halloween, where everything that terrified me was celebrated, wasn't bound to seem that great. Spiders, ghosts, skeletons...none of them made me happy. The candy part was fun but the rest of it wasn't.

So the years we skipped Halloween and did something else were actually kind of nice. More interesting than if we'd wandered around the neighbourhood collecting candy. If we had a party, my parents based it on whatever we were studying in history at the time. So once we had a medieval feast. Another time we had a mountain man rendezvous, complete with spitting contest. By the time I was in high school, we just didn't go trick-or-treating. Instead, we stayed home, made homemade doughnuts, and listened to "The War of the Worlds." One year I went to a friend's house for their annual Halloween party, where we watched Alfred Hitchcock and ate caramel apples.

We didn't always stay home, though. We did go trick-or-treating a number of times. I remember the neighbours who handed out fruit snacks and tracts. I wasn't impressed with them. I was impressed by the people who were handing out king-size butterfinger bars one year. I don't remember a whole lot about the kinds of costumes I wore. Once I was a princess. Another time I was Pippi Longstocking. I remember one of my brothers going as Spock one year.

Instead of going to the Halloween party at school my first year of university, my friends and I went Christmas-carolling. I'm not sure whose idea that was, but it did get us some candy. Something to do with people thinking we were funny.

Over the years I've ended up at the odd Halloween party, but it turns out I'm not much of a party girl. I'm sure buying my own candy doesn't really have the same thrill as getting it from strangers, but it's a lot more practical. Plus I can buy the kind I actually like (no more Snickers bars!). I'm a lot less fearful than I was as a kid; one of my favourite TV shows is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But I still don't love Halloween. I just like the candy corn.

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