I remember when some kids used to call out “Halloween Apples!” when they were at the door of a neighbourhood house on Halloween night. I always thought that was kinda lame because who wants apples on Halloween, and besides, everybody knows you yell “Trick or Treat!”. And some of us really aggressive, professional-type dresser-uppers would blast out the whole entire official Halloween sing-song ditty: “TRICK OR TREAT, TRICK OR TREAT, GIMME SOME THING GOOD TO EAT!” Which on Halloween night, certainly isn’t apples.
I remember our eyes would light up when the house person would reach into a big bowl by the door and pull out a full size chocolate bar and dump it into your already-bulging pillow case.
A full size chocolate bar was the Halloween Holy Grail, a rare treat in those days, and for some reason it always seemed to be the least likely house that would hand out the Holy Grails.
I remember exactly where two of those houses were, to this day. Both of them were in Parkvale and were small and old (even then) and the occupants were even smaller and older.
Every year we would hit those houses early in case they ran out of the full size chocolate bars, and in both places we would yell “Trick or Treat” and the old folks would throw open the door make a big fuss over our costumes and their eyes would light up and flicker like the candle in the carved jack-o-lantern and sometimes they would ask us to sing a song.
I didn’t really want to sing a song but hey, I had a costume on and was totally incognito (yeah, sure) and it didn’t matter what song, and when full size chocolate bars were involved, boy, I didn’t hesitate to rear back and belt out the theme from the TV show Batman on account of it had only one word: “Batmaaaan!”.
I remember that I always liked those chewy candies we called “Halloween Kisses”, and I know that you can still get those same actual authentic toffees on account of I am chewing on one right now. It turns out — Bonus! — they are made in Canada and who knew molasses could taste so good?
I remember that some very diligent Halloween houses would have little baggies of candies pre-wrapped in perfect portions for all the little ghosts, goblins and Batmans and the best part was opening them much later when you got home and pawed through the loot you’d collected on your long day’s journey into night.
I remember that Mom would get out the big turkey roaster thingy and I’d dump all 14 pounds of sugar comestibles out of my pillow case into it and immediately start rooting around in there and immediately start filling my face with enough sugar to launch a Saturn V rocket.
I remember that just for fun I’d chomp on a combo of Fleer Double Bubble, Beemans Gum, Black Cat (which turned your mouth black), little two-packs of Chicklets and Thrills (that purple gum that tasted like soap) until I had a huge chaw in my cheek that would make a World Series third baseman envious. Also, I’d be in serious danger of choking to death. Awww, the good old days. When gum was gum, sugar was sugar, and dentists were ecstatic.
But this year, maybe we’ll go organic, go healthy. Maybe we’ll give out apples.
But I haven’t a clue what to do with the three big bowls of full size chocolate bars and Halloween kisses already sitting by the door.
Harley Hay is a writer and filmmaker in Red Deer.