I remember the Halloweens of my childhood as one of the most anticipated holidays of the year, right up there with Christmas and Easter. We planned costumes for months in advance and mapped out trick-or-treat strategies like four-star generals before a major battle.
Mom served chili for the traditional pre-trick-or-treat supper. Dad queued up The Haunted Mansion record album to play for the 500 or so goblins who'd come in search of candy. I watched the clock and waited for the official treat-or-treat window opened. My friends and I milked the night for everything it was worth, coming in only after all the houses turned off their porch lights.
Halloween wasn't officially over, though, until the candy had been inspected. My parents claimed it was a matter of safety—one never knew when a razor blade or stick pin would wind up in a Reese's Cup or 3 Musketeers Bar. They were willing to sacrifice themselves. To run that risk for our own good.
Odd that they never worried about anyone tampering with the Starlight Mints or Circus Peanuts. But I digress.
Being several years older than my brothers, I escaped the candy inspection, I was old enough to check my own candy, not that I believed anyone in our small town was truly at risk.
I also escaped the overnight candy thief, otherwise known as Aunt Kathryn, who never missed the opportunity to eat sweets—especially if it was someone else's. Why she and her husband always ended up at our house on Halloween was beyond me. But they did. And my poor brothers weren't smart enough to hide their candy when they went to bed. Only God knows how late they stayed up, plucking their favorite pieces of candy from my brothers' plastic pumpkins—or perhaps more important, why my parents never stopped them.
Those days are long gone, though. My brothers and I have our own kids, now. Colton quit trick-or-treating about seven years ago. We haven't had a trick-or-treater or a plastic pumpkin full of candy in as many years.
It occurs to me that I do have an unsuspecting nephew and niece, though. Maybe Colton and I can stop by on Halloween for a visit after they've gone to bed. I'm sure Aunt Kathryn would want it that way.