Halloween always sneaks up on me. I realize how ridiculous that sounds, given the fact that the stores begin putting up their spooky displays the day after Labor Day. Despite that, year after year I forget to buy any candy and procrastinate about shopping for costumes for my girls.
I know, I stink. When I was a kid, nobody bought costumes. We decided what we wanted to be and then found a way to make it. Sometimes, we were lucky enough to find an adult who was willing to help us sew, glue, or otherwise construct our fantasy outfits. I can remember spray painting two cardboard boxes white with black dots, cutting out holes for arms, legs, and heads, and teaming up with my little sister to be a pair of dice. Okay for trick-or-treating, but they came off the second we got home since it's pretty hard to sit down when your body is contained inside a box.
We used pillowcases to collect our candy as we walked block after block in our neighborhood, accepting congratulations on our creativity and wishing the grownups would quit talking so we could get to the next house. Like everyone else we knew, as soon as we returned home, the loot was dumped into piles on the carpet in the living room and sorted and traded.
I am a candy snob and, to some extent, I always have been. As a kid, I liked candy bars as much as the rest of them, but I wouldn't eat just any candy. Those families that gave out little stacks of Necco Wafers on Halloween? If I had been paying enough attention to pinpoint exactly who they were, I'd have gone back later with toilet paper. Those things are just glorified communion wafers with food coloring. They always tasted stale and the flavors were just gross. Come on, people! I can also remember rejecting Tootsie Rolls. Now, I know some people really like them but what are they really? They aren't chocolate. They aren't taffy. They aren't right.
No, back then I coveted Milky Way candy bars, M&Ms and Sugar Daddy's. Getting a real Sugar Daddy - you know, the big ones on a stick - was pretty rare, but at least one family in our neighborhood always came through. I could make those things last for days. Bubble gum was always welcome, too. Anything with peanuts, though? Those were fair game for my siblings as were Almond Joy and Mounds bars.
These days I almost don't have to buy any candy at all. With only six houses in our neighborhood, we don't get any outside trick-or-treaters. That leaves me free to make up special bags of goodies for each of the kids who live near us so I stuff them with temporary tattoos, stickers, and lots of good candy. Real size candy, not those piddly little bite-size ones. This afternoon I raced to the drugstore to pick out the loot since I had pretty much forgotten that tomorrow is the actual day. Lucky for me there are an odd number of kids in the neighborhood so I usually have some good stuff left over. Like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. And Sugar Daddys.