Keep your hands off my Halloween candy

Published 3:20 pm Thursday, November 2, 2023

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By Jack Godbey

Contributing Columnist

Halloween is my favorite holiday. You can keep your colored Easter eggs and your stale fruit cake from Christmas. I would much rather surround myself with skulls, zombies and all things scary. When I was growing up, Halloween was not what it is today. While children today will skip off to Walmart to purchase costumes of their favorite monsters, I had no such luxury. For one, the nearest store was a 30-minute drive from our house and second, my parents seemed to always spend their money on that pesky food and shelter stuff.

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It seems like every Halloween that I can remember, when we were picking our costume, we had two choices: clown or cowboy. All we had to do was decide and my mother would whip out her sewing machine and before you know it, we were outfitted with the best costume any kid could want. I normally opted for the cowboy and my mother would dive into her spare fabric and whip me up a vest and chaps that would rival anything I saw in the Sears and Roebuck catalog.

We normally didn’t make the drive into town to trick or treat. Instead, my father would drive us around our rural country road to all the neighbors houses where we would collect suckers, Tootsie Rolls and the occasional popcorn ball. I always dreaded going to one neighbor’s house who always put a bag of flour in our candy bags. Who did he think I was, Wolfgang Puck? I’m 8 years old for goodness’ sake. I’m not baking a casserole when I get home. Still, we thanked him every year and went on to the next house.

All I wanted to do when I got home was dive into the candy and eat until I was in a sugar stupor, but I was never allowed to touch it until my parents checked each piece to make sure no one sabotaged it with drugs. Our neighbors were all in their 80s, I doubt if any of them were drug traffickers, but better safe than sorry right?

Since I was the youngest kid in the family, my older siblings rarely wanted to play with me. However, it seems that as soon as I came home with my candy stash, I became quite popular as they all wanted to help me count my candy as they robbed me. We didn’t get the Snickers and Kit-Kats like modern children do. Still, I worked hard for my Tootsie Rolls, and I wanted to keep them.

One Halloween, in 1995, I was enjoying the holiday with my two younger nephews. One who was about 2 seemed to follow my 10-year-old nephew around and made every step he made. The young nephew never called the older one by his name, but instead referred to him affectionally as Boo. My mother and I thought it would be funny if we got the 10-year-old’s favorite clothes and hat and stuffed it full of leaves to make a scarecrow and we imagined the young nephew arriving to see it and how we all would laugh. However, when the young nephew arrived, he saw the scarecrow, but we didn’t get the reaction we thought. In his young mind, his favorite playmate had been turned into a scarecrow and he just stood there with a look of sheer terror mixed with empathy on his face and said, “Oh my poor Boo” as he touched the scarecrows shoulder as if to offer his condolences for this awful thing that had happened to him. So, I managed to unwillingly traumatize my nephew. My work here is done.