They actually had to explain the concept of Halloween to me twice. The first time sounded too good to be true.
I was young. And naïve. I do what? I dress up in some silly looking skeleton costume and go to every house up and down the street and ask for (and get) candy just by saying, “Trick or treat?” No way, I say.
Stupid grown-ups. In the old days, the days I call “Life Before Siblings,” I could have all the candy I wanted and never had to share it with anybody.
Then all of a sudden babies started appearing. First one sister, then another, and the final dagger in the heart of my good times, a baby brother. Suddenly I was sharing my bedroom.
By then candy became more of a socialist concept – if there’s not enough for all, then nobody gets any.
I was a capitalist born and raised. I was a confirmed Darwinist at mind and heart, especially when it came to candy: survival of the fittest. He who is biggest, strongest and oldest gets all the candy.
I existed under the whole macro-economic theorem of supply and demand. I demanded the whole supply of candy and because I was the biggest and the oldest, and the most cunning when it came to procuring candy, I got all the supply I could get my hands on.
Me to my four-year-old sister: Hey, I’ll trade you this rock for your Snickers bar.
My four-year old sister to me: Okay.
I often found myself on the wrong end of a spanking as a result so I approached this whole Halloween concept with obvious trepidation.
Besides, we already had the Easter bunny in spring and of course there was Christmas with all the candy canes, not to mention all those presents, and I understood the pratfalls of greed.
Too much greed is not a good thing … except at Halloween.
So I dressed up in some gunky skeleton costume and set out with pillow case in hand to walk up to every house on my street, knock on the door and say, “Trick or treat,” and I’d get candy.
Who was the genius that dreamed up this holiday? Bless that poor soul whoever he may be.
And it worked too. I got candy. MY candy.
And the more houses I visited the more candy I got … and the more candy I got, the more candy I wanted. This was the most amazing day ever.
As the years passed I would gladly don my skeleton costume and head out at dusk to secure my booty.
But then one day, sadly, as all good things do, this grand tradition came to an end. Just like Santa Claus and the Easter bunny, it too had passed.
Like I’d outgrown the gunky skeleton suit I had suddenly outgrown trick or treating.
How? And more importantly, why? I’ll tell you why.
I discovered something more important than candy.
They were a new candy, eye candy, the kind secured behind the glass counter that I could admire but never touch, and I spent the ensuing years of my life in fruitless pursuit of what I could never have.
So as I observe this day each year, I reminisce about those simpler times when a Baby Ruth bar was just a Baby Ruth bar, and you could walk up to a complete stranger, dressed in some silly costume and say, “Trick or treat!”
And not get slapped.