Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I've mentioned a time or several that I wasn't permitted much in the way of sugar when I was a kid. This, combined with my family's tendency to go wild (in the best way) at every holiday, meant that on those occasions I was given free rein to indulge -- namely Halloween, Christmas and Easter -- I literally ate myself sick. I'll never forget the time I threw up all over my Shaun Cassidy glitter iron-on t-shirt and missed the rest of the day's festivities.

Clearly, I was flirting with danger whenever sugar came into play. And isn't that what Halloween is all about? Danger and sugar? During my peak trick-or-treat days, which coincided with the mass paranoia in the wake of the 1982 Tylenol poisonings, I was not unconcerned about razor blades in candy bars and cyanide powder in Pixie Stix. Of course, in those days my parents drove my brother, sister and me around the neighboring mountain communities -- in the dark of night -- to knock on strangers' doors and beg for candy. So my fears weren't completely unfounded, right?

Nowadays trick-or-treating seems to be a more hygienic activity that takes place in the light of day and among known entities. But what I love most about Halloween hasn't changed at all: pumpkin carving, adorable kids in costume, dogs in costume,  haunted hayrides... Everyone gets to be a kid and eat too much sugar and stay up too late.

Do schools still host Halloween carnivals? (I suppose they're called Harvest or Fall carnivals now?) I loved the carnival my middle school put on every year. My teachers dressed up as witches and zombies, the library was converted to a haunted house, and I tried my luck at bobbing for apples. But the best part was donning a costume my mom had spent hours making by hand especially for me.

I'm not dressing up this year, but the pumpkins are carved and the house is stocked with candy. I hope I get some trick-or-treaters, because otherwise I'm stuck with a bucket of candy. And we all know how that ends.

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