By Ernie Fowler – Nashville CHSD #99
It is about time for little ghosts and goblins to invade neighborhoods all across America. Many folks will look forward to seeing the parade of costumes come up the sidewalk, bag in hand, ready to yell those old familiar words…..”Trick or treat”.
Times have changed since I was a little ghoul. First of all, I’ve become a big ghoul! Other things have changed as well. When I was a young lad, trick or treating was a three night affair. This gave opportunity for little ones to be able to get out at least one night. It gave opportunity for kiddos to visit various neighborhoods that they might not be able to visit due to the time constraints of only one night. It also allowed for a commonly abused practice. We could choose three different costumes and visit the same houses for three nights in a row. By the third night we were easily identified…..”hey, you’re that Fowler kid”. With the rising cost of Halloween candy, economic considerations reduced trick or treating to two then to one night.
In the old days, my friends and I would be invited inside the home of the treat giver. Before the treat, we would have to remove our mask and say who we were. Today, unless accompanied by a parent, it isn’t wise for a child to enter a stranger’s home. After the visit, we would evaluate the value of “hitting” the house for a second or third night. A Hershey bar was as good as a “see ya tomorrow night” invitation. A popcorn ball meant we could skip the house during rounds two and three of raiding the neighborhood. A piece of fruit would mark the house off of our visitation list for all of eternity.
When the night concluded, we raced back to the house with our sugar-filled treasurers. We were like pirates wading through our booty. Next would come bartering. Any form of chocolate was like the Ace of Spades in a card deck. Chocolate was worth at least three Smarties, Double-Bubble, or licorice whips. Of course a full size candy bar was the cannon in our trade arsenal. It was worth at least five of anything in our bag ‘o plenty. Candy corn had a double benefit. It was great to eat but it could also, by the handfuls, be a good source of “corning”. That’s right….candy corn, food that is good to eat or throw!
This year, I’ll be out with my little one pillaging some neighborhood. We will seek out porch lights glowing like a beacon in the ocean of night. Together we will race up the street trying to distance ourselves from the other raiders in hopes of getting the best of the treats. I will push him to the door. I will rehearse his best “trick or treat” yell. Finally, I’ll stand back and receive my reward for keeping him safe and happy during this special October night……that’s right…..a Hershey bar!
NCHS Superintendent’s Notes: Halloween