It’s the Reason for the Season
It’s tragic. Tragic like squirrel-gnawed pumpkins (damn you guys). In the midst of the hustle and bustle of cookie baking, pumpkin carving, door decorating and costume partying, every year we fall further away from the true spirit of Halloween.
If we listen closely, out of the mouths of babes will spring forth those pure, innocent words of truth to help set us back on the righteous path.
It just so happens I have the ability to channel 1981-Angie. And during a recent conversation with her, I had the opportunity to ask what she would like us all to know about Halloween.
1981-Angie replied without hesitation and with her mouth brimming full of chewed-up Pop-Tart:
As this blessed All Hallows’ Eve is now upon us, let us not lose sight of why we are celebrating. Let us not be swept away in the frivolous commercialization of this splendid holiday and let us remember the true Reason for the Season.
It’s about the candy. Amen.
Yes, just about this time in 1981, my brother and I were no doubt sitting around on beanbag chairs with the other neighborhood ruffians, brushing off the dust from last year’s trick-or-treating playbook, and talking out the strategy for the big day ahead.
This year we would avoid the maple taffy house. No more coins would be accepted — we are not collecting for UNICEF, thank-you-very-much. Bring extra flashlights to sneak past fences. Jesse, we cannot afford to repeat last year’s chain-link tragedy. Is it true the Johnson house gave full-sized Three Musketeer bars last year? If so, we must make the long trek there.
Now. It was showtime.
***An aside to my readers: my illustration does not represent a newly adopted schtick. Rest assured, I will leave the sketching to the professionals. Like my fellow blogger speaker7 with her amazing Annie Leibovitz-esque depictions of celebrities like Snooki (here). And then you should also check out blogger Darla’s phenomenal interpretation of her husband’s brain (here), as well as my friend Adam’s textbook illustrations (here).***
Halloween. The annual sugarpalooza. A fructose high to last until Easter. Summer bliss long since behind us, trick-or-treating became imperative for securing the necessary hyperactivity fuel to last through the long, hard winter ahead.
1981-Angie provided me with this candy ranking rundown:
1.) Candy bars. (Upper echelon) Twix, Kit Kat, Krackel, Butterfinger and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. (Acceptable) Snickers, Score, or 100 Grand. (Lower rung, aka Old Man fare) Baby Ruth, Milky Way, Nut Roll, Mars and Mr. Goodbar.
2.) Novelty candy. Preferably something of high risk for causing brain hemorrhaging or something that could be sprinkled on cereal in the morning. Nerds, Pop Rocks, Pixy Sticks, etc.
3.) Any form of gum. Preferably Chiclets, Charms Blow Pops or Bazooka Bubble Gum.
4.) Anything tart. Preferably something of high risk for causing eardrum popping. Jolly Ranchers, sour balls, Sweet Tarts and the like.
5.) Anything that could potentially dislocate a human jaw upon chomping. Notably, Gobstoppers and Jawbreakers.
1.) Slo Pokes.
2.) Tootsie Rolls.
3.) Dum Dum suckers.
4.) Gummy anything.
5.) Rootbeer Barrels.
Under no circumstances acceptable:
1.) Peanut Butter Kisses. This waxy, taffy-like substance with a hint of peanut butter belonged in a bridge mix in a glass jar on a coffee table at my grandmother’s house.
2.) Brach’s butterscotch or cinnamon disks. Truly awful. I wouldn’t have eaten these in the face of a sugar apocalypse.
3.) Candy corn. Or candy corn fashioned into non-corn forms, such as pumpkin-shaped. (My friend Lori would point out I once happily depleted her supply of candy corn. To that I’d say, I also ate dehydrated noodles with meat-flavored powder back then.)
4.) Popcorn Balls.
5.) Coffee-flavored anything.
1981-Angie would have trouble understanding all this “safe” trick-or-treating nonsense, with parents caddying kids around town. When it came down to the candy-wrangling, we went it alone. Grown-ups, with their Polaroid cameras, crosswalk use, “please” and “thank-you” prompts — they only served to slow us down.
We also need not bother with the silly plastic pumpkin buckets and felt-decorated treat bags. No, we traveled light, efficient, with enormous loot-hauling capacity. We used our pillowcases. And then we made damn sure we filled them.
With all this in mind, this year, 1981-Angie would like you to forget about sending Halloween photo cards to relatives, put down that carving machete (unless it’s a costume accessory), and get that gingham and raffia craft nightmare wiped off your to-do list. Let’s think back to the sweet (brain-stimulatingly sweet), innocent times when it was all about the candy.
Now let’s close with a prayer that there’s fluoride in your water. Amen.