I grew up with my mind, heart and courage. But no sweet tooth.
Of course I don't like medicine. (Who made it?) However, I don't like a spoonful of sugar either.
I realized that I was abnormal—at least not in terms of "hospitality."
In other families, candy is a form of currency: "Be a good person and you can own a piece of candy."
But it's not in my house.
I don't need a smelly candy bar. Or, the cherry lifeguard. Or, the chocolate kiss.
And I especially don't like those terrible, light orange "circus peanuts", they taste like mushy styrofoam blocks, which are unbridled pain.
A friend recently told me that I can go to candystore.com to buy 20 pounds of so-called peanuts for $103.99.
I thought we had abolished the death penalty.
I like to take pictures of my Turkish toffee on the sidewalk, but I am not interested in eating anything. (Glass fiber fragments?)
And, whenever I see those big yellow Whitman's Sampler boxes...
Well, I am more interested in the box than the contents.
I will paint them black and fill them with baseball cards.
Nevertheless, I still like to trick or treat.
My parents insisted that they were too poor to buy me a "real" costume from the store with a matching plastic mask. (It was about $3.99 at the time. Now, the price on eBay is $125 or more.) So, I had to improvise, which I think is more interesting.
I will meet my school friends at the corner of my block, and then we will wear makeshift cloaks and tramp around.
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My only major costume failure was when I tried to go out as Charlie Chaplin. (I have a postcard from him, nailed in my bedroom as a little tramp.) I am about 10 years old and don't have a black suit, so my father suggested that I wear my tan raincoat.
I brushed my hair to one side and made a square moustache with black tape. This is obviously the image of someone spitting everywhere-to the chagrin of my neighbor and my friend Manny Bernstein, who recently broke his arm and tried Hit me with his actor on the head.
In those days, you wouldn't look out the window and see some children trick or treat without giving sugar. There are hundreds of children on the street.
Because of this, my brother and I had to check at home every few hours.
My parents sort our bags, pick out the (very few) candies they want to keep for themselves, and then recycle the rest.
Then they will send us back for more.
"Hurry up," my mother would say. "There are many children this year. We need more candies!"
So... uh... what's wrong with this photo?
After buying my first home in Woodridge, I actually went to town and filled a big bowl with all the candies I bought for Halloween visitors.
I think three children showed up.
I think part of the problem is that I am on a dead end with no lights or sidewalks-and my front door has 20 steps.
For three years, I have bought bags after bags of candies, and eventually I will take them to the office because I have never seen any children.
Of course, I didn't buy any candies in the first year, and the bell rang. I opened the door and saw a seven-year-old fairy princess.
She was wearing a sparkling blue dress, a rhinestone headpiece and a wand with a star on the tip.
I didn't have any candies, so I gave her a can of chickpeas.
By the time my parents were in their seventies, Halloween was a holiday they were really afraid of. They had fewer children than before, but they were too tired to go up and down the stairs.
My mother's solution: She put a small table on the front steps, put a basket full of candies and said "Happy Halloween! Please take one."
Within 10 minutes, all the candies were gone—obviously, there was no cure for the little thugs who were addicted to sucrose, glucose, lactose, and fructose.
Half an hour later, someone took away the basket and table.
However, they left a mark. I think it's still in the garage.
These days, I look at my only child Charlie, a raccoon I adopted five years ago, and I wish I could dress her as a fairy princess, a pirate, or a 65-pound cat.
It's hard to be a baby boomer, between my contempt for unhealthy snacks and my ruthless nostalgia for the good old days.
Maybe Charlie and I will dress up tonight, carve a pumpkin, and watch a horror movie on TV.
Then, around midnight, we will open the chickpeas.
Bill Ervolino can be reached at BillE@northjersey.com