Thursday, October 26, 2006

Thursday Thirteen #13

13 Halloween Memories

1) When I was younger, Halloween was a huge holiday for me and my family that involved carving pumpkins, roasting pumpkin seeds, picking out the perfect costumes (such as Wonder Woman), trick-or-treating, and either creating or fighting back against various forms of mischief.

2) In my small New England town, the night before Halloween was called “Mischief Night,” and most of the kids did everything in their power to make the night live up to its name. I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I participated in several, largely harmless but still very immature pranks, such as toilet-papering and silly-stringing trees in people’s front yards. Thankfully, I never did anything horrible like keying or egging a car. Karma points to me.

3) One year, the ratty little kids living down the street dumped nasty macaroni into our pool on Mischief Night. It was disgusting. We also had many of our painstakingly carved jack-o-lanterns smashed into little pieces on our front lawn. I can understand how that would be satisfying to destroy a pumpkin, as they explode so magnificently once they have been carved and slightly rotted, but it’s so uncool to smash them before Halloween. Negative karma points to the macaroni dumpers and jack-o-lantern smashers.

4) My two brothers and I, and to a lesser extent my little sister Bean (who is more mellow) are a competitive, focused bunch when faced with a challenge we believe worthy of our attention. Getting as much candy as humanly possible on Halloween was one such challenge that we threw ourselves into with gusto and at which we truly excelled.

5) We approached trick-or-treating just as we approached other challenges, such as, going on every ride in an amusement park, seeing all the major sites in a new city, or tasting every wine at a wine-tasting: With single-minded determination and inexhaustible energy.

6) I have many snippets of memories that include sprinting from one house to the next with my brothers, my breath cold in my throat from the chilly outside air, my pulse racing with excitement, looking over my shoulder to see if my Dad was keeping up.

7) My Dad was usually the designated driver on Halloween; not because we were drinking (duh!), but because we needed a driver to maximize our trick-or-treating. He would drop us off in a spot we liked, and once we had agreed where we would meet him next, we would race off to start methodically hitting all the houses in the vicinity. Looking back now, I see how much good-natured patience driving us around and waiting for us must have required of him; but I don’t recall him ever complaining. He’s cool like that.

8) When Bean was little (she’s 8 years younger than me, so when she started trick-or-treating, I was in my trick-or-treating prime, had much longer legs, and could run much faster than her), my Dad went slower with her, or my brothers and I slowed down to allow her to join in. I remember feeling the responsibility of watching out for her, feeling protective of her, and wanting her to come with us. She was so damn cute!

9) At the end of the night, after we had exhausted all of the neighborhoods on our list and ourselves, we would pile back into my Dad’s car and head home, our candy-filled pillow cases bulging on our laps, where our Mom had been doling out candy to trick-or treaters and keeping guard, and Phase II of the night would begin.

10) Upon our return home, we would weigh our pillow cases on the scale up in my parents’ bathroom (we always got pounds and pounds), and then go into the family room were we would start laying out all of our booty on the floor. Even though we largely got the same amount of candy, since we had all gone to the same places, there was much back-and-forth about how much candy each one of us had gotten, who got more, and who got the best stuff.

11) I remember spreading out all of my candy in neat rows, and organizing it by type and category such that, for example, all chocolates were grouped together, and then further subdivided into mini-groups of Musketeers Bars, Snickers, Peanut Butter Cups, etc. My siblings would do the same, so that huge portions of the family room floor were soon covered with piles of candy. It was pretty awesome, and I wish I had pictures of that now.

12) After the weighing, laying out, and organizing, came the most important part of the evening: The Divvying Up. Through much strategic maneuvering, intense negotiations, and lots of bluffing and feigning of indifference, my brothers and I managed to strike the deals necessary to trade our candy so that we all ended up with stacks of our favorites, and managed to get rid of the candy we didn’t like. I always tried to get rid of Butter Fingers and chocolate-covered cherries.

13) Remembering those times with my brothers and sister makes me both happy and wistful. I had a blast running around with them.

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Anonymous said...

Those are awesome memories!

In the Canadian Prairies we called the 30th Devil's Night and kids did much of the same. The worst thing I participated in was smashing pumpkins but only the weekend after Halloween. Karma points to me!

Chelle Y. said...

It sounds like you had an awesome family. I am still competitive playing games with my brother, even though we are both in our thirties! Haha!

Just Expressing Myself said...

I can see those pillowcases sitting on the bathroom scale now.
Get rid of the Butterfingers and chocolate covered cherries? Horrors I luv 'em.
Thanks for sharing.
Trick or Treat

Anonymous said...

These are great memories! Reminds me of Jerry Seinfeld's stand up... "Getcandygetcandygetcandy." He claims that this is the only thought in a child's mind as they grow up. I might have to agree!

Mine's up too. :o)

Tracy said...

Can I tell you how much I love it that you referred to a portion of your trick or treating years as "being in my trick-or-treating prime"?!

That's a beautiful thing, my friend!

Norma said...

Sounds like not only good memories, but you all learned some valuable life skills--like organizing and negotiating.

is up. Look forward to see you there.

Bean said...

I may have been little but I always got the most candy. Probably the most fun part was definitely sorting out all of the candy and getting your favorites. YOu guys would always try and trick me to trade me crap for a good piece of candy.

Brony said...

Sounds like Halloween was a busy time of year. Lots of tricks and treats.

Happy TT!

Julie said...

I love the image of all your candy spread out on the floor. I had totally forgotten how we used to organize and sort all of our candy (mini snickers bars=good, red hot jaw-breakers=bad). Thanks for bringing that memory back for me!

Anonymous said...

We always spread out (all 4 kids) and mom would dump our candy out, then we would all go through the candy to make sure there were no dangerous things, after all we lived in a big city and mom trusted no one! But it was always fun!

InterstellarLass said...

How cool! I love the weighing part! I don't think I ever did that. I would always barter with my mom for the Special Dark's out of our own bags of candy. Those were too good to give out to Trick-Or-Treat-ers.

Gypsy said...

Do you think 31 is too old to go trick or treating? Because now I really want to go. :)

Tracy said...

Congrats, Buttercup! You're in the sixties, now!!! Definitely a light at the end of the tunnel!

Anita said...

What great memories! My fondest memory is pulling harmless little pranks on people - like jumping out of bushes and scaring kids and other silly stuff. Here are some of my favorite pranks: Top 10 Relatively Harmless Halloween Pranks.

Thought you might get a kick out of it.