October 29, 1999
Halloween is one of my favourite holidays. Always has been. It
combines everything I love.
I love dressing up. I'm the only person I know over the age
of five who has a closet full of costumes. If you want swords,
eyepatches, capes or funny hats, I'm your man. Or pirate. Or
vampire. Or whatever.
I blame the Sametz girls who used to baby-sit me. They made
me play dress-up as a kid, and I've never quite gotten over it.
Costumes now aren't as much fun as they used to be. There
are so many now that aren't politically correct. Forget going
as a Gypsy, an Indian, or a Witch, unless you want a lecture
at the door on racism, Aboriginal treaty rights or respecting
the Wiccan religion.
You probably aren't allowed to call them ghosts anymore
now they're the living-impaired. I suppose you could still go
out as a genetically altered carrot, 40 feet tall with fangs.
Or you could add a second head and chain your feet together
and go as the United Alternative.
But Halloween is really about the candy. When it comes to
candy, I have to admit I'm a bit of a cheap date. You can keep
your Belgian chocolates and Swiss truffles. I like the pure sugar
and artificial flavours of the cheap stuff. Unless it was invented
in a lab and tested on toothless children, I'm not interested.
There are rules federal, I think - to sorting Halloween
candy. All the bags of chips are removed first. We were always
happy to hand over all apples to my parents, who would check
them for tampering. They never found any evidence of tampering,
which made us disappointed because (a) it would have made a great
story at school the next day, and (b) it meant you had to eat
You always had to take out the caramels next, because that
was Dad's favourite, and if you handed them over right away,
he'd pretty much let you make yourself sick on anything that
was left. It was also a fair fee for taking you out Trick or
Treating, and standing far enough away to make it look like you
were on your own, but close enough to make sure the big kids
didn't steal your candy.
Next, I'd carefully pick through for all of the pure sugar
candies. I still love Rockets, those little rolls of sugar. Drugs
have never interested me, but I could develop a serious Rocket
habit. I'd trade all my chocolate bars for them in the great
candy swap that followed.
Finally, after sorting through everything, in the last pile
you put those inedible Halloween kisses and the toothbrush the
dentist down the street always gave out.
My sister always had to hang on to the last piece of candy
of the season. In about July she would dig into the back of her
closet and pull out the hunk of fudge she had been saving since
the previous October.
It didn't matter that it was as hard as a rock and home to
an ant colony.
She would lord it over my brother and me, delicately sniffing
it like it was a hundred dollar bottle of wine. General unpleasantness
would follow, with everyone trying to lay claim to the sugary
meteorite by being the first to lick it.
You see, that's what we've forgotten about the joy of Halloween.
It's about the candy, and what kids are prepared to do to get