Tricks and Treats of the Times!
Truth to tell, I don’t get that many trick-or-treaters in my corner of the Capital Region.
Maybe a dozen, maybe 20 kids will show up Sunday evening. Because Halloween falls on a weekend, there might be some crews out during the daylight hours. Good idea, but kind of cheating. The whole point of Halloween is crowding the streets after dark, becoming part of the evening parade. Where’s the sense of menace when a werewolf or vampire is out in broad daylight?
Sunday can be tough for Halloween kids. I remember a few years ago, when Halloween showed up on a cold Sunday. It was gray and frosty, and that’s probably why some treaters were out early. I was watching the Philadelphia Eagles on TV when I heard a rap at my porch door. I opened up my living room door — at the same time an Eagle snapped off a nice, long running play. I probably stood at the door about 20 seconds, all concentration on the flying Eagle.
Once the play was over, I looked at my front porch and saw this little girl dressed as an angel standing — freezing — on my front steps. I felt like a dope. I actually apologized, and think I gave her five candy bars.
I learned a long time ago you’ve got to like the candy you hand out. If you buy 200 lemon lollipops for $3.99, and think you’ve scored a great deal, you’re probably going to be stuck with 100 leftovers. And if you hate lemon lollipops, that great deal won’t seem so great.
That’s why I give out Reese’s peanut butter cups. The classic candy is great with kids, great with adults, great frozen. I try to make it worth the kids’ while. When the newspaper was handing out football booklets a few years ago, I’d grab a stack and offer some football along with the candy. “You cheap buzzard,” said my brother Tim, really using another word that begins with “B” and ends with “D.” I told him, “Hey, they’re still getting the candy. But they’re also getting a football book that might have been thrown out back at the paper. It’s a bonus!”
No more football books. So no more bonuses.
My friend Hop-Sing, who works in the newspaper’s composing room, told me this morning that between him and his son, there are 22 bowling balls at home. Hop-Sing only uses four balls; the rest are just gathering dust. “Wouldn’t it be something if you could give away a bunch of bowling balls on Halloween,” I said.
It would go like a bomb. I’ll bet anyone who tried such a generous maneuver would soon be picking up glass in the living room ... after a perfect strike through the front windows.
I never opened a few boxes of candy canes last winter. Perfectly fine candy canes, I might add. Why not give away some red and white along with the candies in the orange wrappers, I thought. I decided against the generosity; the canes would just get thrown out once kids arrived back home. I probably would have done the same thing as a kid in 1967. Peppermint was something we always hated, along with apples, pennies, Mary Janes, lollipops, licorice and candy cigarettes. Candy cigarettes — no doubt the dumbest confectionery product of all time.
I’ve got big surpluses of hot sauce and toothpaste back home, but kids wouldn’t appreciate such clever treats. Maybe some October, when my end of days is approaching, I’ll liquidate my collection of comic books from the 1960s and ’70 on Halloween night. Some of them might even be worth something in 2035.
Golf balls could be another great idea. You might risk a quick return — like the bowling balls — but some young players might appreciate an experienced Top Flite or Titleist. I could even break out some new sleeves! And golf tees — you can never have enough golf tees!
Nah, you’ve got to stick with candy. As kids in Rochester, we were always trying to find out where the rich people lived in our neighborhood, hoping they would be giving out nickel candy bars like Hershey’s, Zeros, Pay Days, Sky Bars or Snickers, instead of the steady donations of hard candy, caramels and candy corn. Candy corn — ugh. Another loser.
If people want to really be creative, maybe they should give each trick-or-treater an egg this Sunday night. The house would be the most popular house on the streets — on Monday morning. The birds and squirrels would have a yolk-and-shell buffet on the roof, sides and front lawn.