Back in the ‘70s, when I was of trick-or-treating age, getting ready for Halloween was an Olympic style preparation. Planning, mapping, pattern grouping, directional discussions and weather reports were all the talk at the lunch tables daily. Starting just after mid-September and didn’t stop until the afternoon of the most glorious of holidays, Halloween.
Every year my grandmother would buy me a candy bag that had some sort of cute rendition of bunnies and pumpkins in the act of trick-or-treating and I would use the bag for the annual photo of our costumes then I would ditch that plastic bag and go straight for one of my parent’s king-size pillow cases because I KNEW I was going to need something bigger than just “a little bag.”
We would all gather at somebody’s house to put our plan into action then take off like a shot and around the neighborhood we went. We did well until we came to that one house, the house that I feared most … my house. You see, at this time of year while I was planning on catching every last piece of candy from every house in the neighborhood, my Father was also planning for Halloween. As I have said in many articles before, my father was a dentist most of his life and in true dental style he would bring home CASES of TOOTHBRUSHES and they would give them out to the neighborhood kids! It was embarrassing! Anything that other parents liked was surely going to be the death of my social life. I later found out at the high point of trick-or-treating in our neighborhood we had given out 300+ toothbrushes!
November 1st of every year was always the same – an entirely dismal return to school as all of the kids in my class were RELENTLESS of picking on me for not giving out candy and how much their parents LOVED having the kids come to my house for toothbrushes!
That is until the last year of my trick-or-treating stage of life. That year we had a new member of the group move into the neighborhood just down the street from us. A GIRL had moved in to the old Schafer house and at the insistence of our parents, to make her feel welcome, the guys and I invited her to come with us for thee nightly candy run. We did the entire loop, even to my house and when we were doing our end-of-the-night counting, round ups and trading, she was with us and when one of the guys said, “Don’t mind the toothbrush. Sketch’s Dad hands them out every year, it’s kind of their ‘thing’.” I looked over at her to ashamed to look directly at her and half smiled. She smiled and said, “I don’t mind, clean teeth make a guy more … I don’t know … kissable, I guess?” I looked at her and she smiled at me.
Right there something happened in my stomach that still gets me to this day. It was at that moment that something took precedent over the candy run, the guys, costumes and even Nana’s bags for me. By the next year Halloween was out … and girls were in!
Have a safe Halloween and go Turn It Around for someone.