Sunday, October 26, 2014

Treating with Tricks

Popcorn balls, Snickers, Kit Kat bars, and maybe some Sweet Tarts. My typical load for Halloween trick-or-treating in the middle of rural South Dakota.

our scarecrow head in 2009, a year-old jack-o'-lantern
Not much, but I did get to nibble on the leftovers in the bags Mom had assembled for the kiddos: Hershey's Kisses, Tootsie Rolls, hot cinnamon hard candy, and salt water taffy. I knew it would eventually all be mine because not many masked goblins came knocking.

The popcorn balls came from my mom's cousin, Mary G. Wipf, a woman who was like an aunt to me who passed away this summer. Braces kept me from taking a big bite, but they tasted the same after busted up with a knife. Mary G. made the same treats for Christmas time too—only with green and red food coloring.

my dad with Mary G., the popcorn ball lady, summer of 2009

Why was my Halloween haul so small? We only had a few neighbors, and Mom never drove me more than five miles from home. I do not remember going too many places.

One year Aunt Grace and Uncle Johnny were not home, and my childhood mind wondered why. 

They knew I would be coming. They should have stayed home. 

Mom must have sensed my disappointment when I plopped back into the car. She said, "Go move that ladder and block their door."

"Why? What for?"

"They'll have to move it when they come home. What do you think trick-or-treat means anyway?"

Ironically, this summer, my youngest sister Brenda and I went to that same farm and played a trick-or-treat of a different kind on my cousin. No one answered our knock, so we moved a pot of flowers in front of the door with this note: "Your Kansas cousins were here."

Within minutes a cell phone rang. Our cousin Gordie hunted us down via our nephew-in-law Erik who lived nearby. It worked. We headed back for a short visit with Gordie and his wife Charlotte before they headed off to 4th of July festivities. 


Gordie's treat: a kiss from two of his Hofer cousins

My childhood trick-or-treating days ended around fifth or sixth grade, but for that last go-round, Mom let me stay in town at Tami Price's house. She was a friend and classmate whose birthday was near Halloween. And yes, she lived in town.

10-year-old Tami, my friend who lived in Hitchcock

In-town trick-or-treating for a country kid was like a town kid getting to run naked in mud puddles on a farm after a rain storm.

My orange pumpkin bucket was so full that the candy lasted until Christmas time. I have no idea where I kept it at school the next day so the candy would not be stolen.

Good thing Mom had kept me close to home for Halloween all those years because I am not sure I would have any teeth left today. I already had a mouth full of cavities due to pop drinking. For more about that bad habit, read my post entitled Dr. Pepper, Mountain Dew, and a Slew of Yahoo.

What is your favorite Halloween memory? Ever play an innocent Halloween trick on someone? Or get sick from too much candy?

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