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Some Post-Halloween Thoughts

Hey kids, your “sugar overload” is about to commence. Halloween that is, (or was). You’re going to make your dentist happy and your parents upset as you try to devour five times the legal limit of chocolate into your body at one sitting.

I speak from experience.

So here’s another quick tip before you dress up this year or next year for the big night out. Don’t judge a house by it’s shutters! 

Many of us youngsters always wanted to seek out the biggest, fanciest, wealthiest homes to ring their doorbell. We thought they’d provide the best stash of sweets. Plenty of times we were wrong!

There were homes hidden near dead ends, or not decorated to the hilt, or small ranch homes owned by elderly people who were on fixed incomes. You know, car ports, not carriage houses.

These home owners could have easily turned off their lights and avoid this entire “scary” scenario. Many kids “wrote them off,” expecting an old apple or a popcorn ball or a plain Hershey bar. 

Wrong! I can vividly remember one senior citizen who made home made caramel covered apples on sticks. She was proud of not only making them, but handing them out!

Honestly, anybody can pass out a Kit Kat or a Snickers (nothing wrong with that) but a fresh caramel apple? Like steak versus hamburger. 

Another older couple presented us cookies wrapped in cellophane with a bright orange bow around it. I am betting they couldn’t get to a store to buy candy, so they stayed home and baked the goods! Our taste buds were better off for it. 

Now, you might have to stand a bit longer to reap these benefits. Seniors are often lonely and love to chat, especially to children. So, be patient, and be gracious.

The homes that go total blackout on Halloween night like a WW II practice to avoid bombing? Could be for any number of reasons. Out of town. At work. Didn’t pay the utility bill. Don’t like strangers. Cheapskates. Who knows?

However there comes a time when trick or treating becomes passé. Just not cool anymore to be part of a parade of costumes going door to door in pursuit of sweet stuff. I think I stopped going around age 12, but in all honesty probably could have stretched a few more years. Peer pressure. To hear those words…”jeez, you want to trick or treat? That’s for little kids!”

Thinking back, it was a night where you got exercise, snagged more candy than the local five and dime, and met new people. And….got a glimpse inside of other people’s foyers if they invited you in past their front doorstep!

My mother loved passing out candy to children who came to our door. She never tired of the doorbell buzzing endlessly or the grasping hands and bags being hurled her way. I must report the past several years she actually ran out; instead of “closing shop,” she ran to the store to get more while someone else watched the door!

Some of my fondest memories of Halloween night wasn’t gathering or counting candy, but hitting serves and retrieving balls. Tennis balls, mind you.

For many years, it was a tradition that me and local attorney Ron Travis would meet at the outdoor Williamsport Tennis Club on Reed Street at about 5:30 or 6:00 p.m. on Halloween eve and play a few sets. 

Some of these nights were actually mild and we played in shorts and short sleeve shirts. Other times it was downright chilly. You’d have to wear warm up pants and sweater vests to stay warm. I can remember barking out the score and seeing my breath like a December NFL game. It was also “cool” to see the steam come off your head as we ran down balls and began to sweat! 

As me and Mr. Travis sparred on the clay courts (avoiding some crunchy leaves underfoot) children would pass us on the long sidewalk next to the club and watch us play out points. 

Or should I say Ron and I watched them. We brought tennis bags. They had plastic pumpkin heads with handles. I tried to look like Bjorn Borg or Mats Wilander. They were firemen, super heroes and princesses. Yes, that was us so many years ago. And I am sure Ron took his two daughters on many trick or treat excursions.

Sometimes a child would ask for a stray tennis ball. Ron or I would grab a used one out of our bag and toss it over the fence to them. Under one condition. 

I trade you a ball for a nice piece of candy. Just the thing I needed as an energy boost during a changeover. It’s no banana or pack of raisins, but hey, this IS Halloween!

It was also just the ticket to relive those grand times of walking the neighborhood with other spooks and ghouls. 

In retrospect, it’s hard to say which aspect of Halloween I enjoyed more. Being young and herded around like cattle to score M & M’s and licorice sticks, or as an adult hearing the kids who passed the courts say to to their pals…”those guys are good.” 

Either way, no sugar issues or diabetes thus far.

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