In case you missed the store displays and television commercials, this coming Thursday is Halloween.
|My Middle Sister and I About to Trick-or-Treat
In a manner that is uniquely American, we have taken a religious/pagan festival with layered meanings and turned it into a candy fest for children. I’m not complaining. Some of my favorite Halloween memories include both trick-or-treating with my sisters and taking my daughter trick-or-treating. The best part was when you got home and poured out your candy on the table to see what kind of a haul you brought in. “Regular” trick-or-treating still flourishes in Alabama where we have close-knit neighborhoods and subdivisions.
|My Daughter, The Little Mermaid
A variation which has sprung up for people in Alabama whose living places are spread out, such as in our small towns and rural areas, is “trunk-or-treating.” With “trunk-or-treating,” a church or school or other such organization will have volunteers dress up in costumes and provide candy and other treats for kids at a festival. Since these festivals are usually held in the parking lot of the organization, the trunks of cars are used in the place of houses for the candy. Hence the name, “trunk-or-treating.” I have taken my daughter to several of those, also, and they have been a lot of fun.
Two interesting Alabama twists to Halloween are the temperatures and the scheduling. The temperature on Halloween can range from anywhere in the 50s to the 90s. Temperatures in the 50s are perfect Halloween weather. When the temperature reaches the 90s, our kids wear their costumes and sweat it out for candy.
In Alabama, Halloween does not always occur on October 31. This is because of that American tradition more important down here than even a free candy smorgasbord – high school football. While you would think having Halloween on a Friday or Saturday night would be ideal (and I know it is for the teachers who have to cope with the children on sugar highs when Halloween occurs on a Monday through a Thursday), I know many small towns (and live in one) where a Friday or Saturday night Halloween is changed to the Thursday before so there won’t be a conflict between trick-or-treating and the high school football game. You must check the local paper for the official trick-or-treating hours.
Each year, we buy candy to give out to trick-or-treaters, but each year we get fewer and fewer. Our neighborhood is small and not on the beaten path, but we are ever hopeful. Since we’ve added several homes in the last year, we’re hoping we’ll pick up a few more visitors this year. The little ones who come to the door are adorable.
|My Daughter in a Costume I made, and Me
What are your favorite Halloween memories? Do you celebrate Halloween or have children you can go trick-or-treating with? How many trick-or-treaters show up at your house? Share your stories of Halloween in the comments below.