Trick or Treating – Back in the Day
When my brothers and I went Trick-or-Treating mom and dad didn’t drive us around town in the family car. If we wanted the candy we had to put forth the effort and walk, no matter the weather. No walking – no candy.
Mom and dad brought us into town for the festivities since we lived about a mile out in the country. They visited at a friend’s house, staying warm and dry, while we kids went out into a night filled with darkness and shadows, ghosts and monsters. We were armed with three paper grocery sacks and a flashlight.
The three of us, my two big brothers and I would walk together. They were told to keep an eye on me. After they did some complaining we walked out into the night. I don’t think they minded having their little sister along. It gave the girls they knew a good excuse to stop and talk. The girls would say I was cute and how lucky I was to have TWO brothers to take me trick-or-treating. I smiled and used the time to rummage in my sack for a treat. Halloween was the one time in the year my brothers didn’t mind my tagging along. Even when they were too old or too cool to dress up, they would still walk with me. My protection cost me. They got to have their pick of my loot.
I dressed as an Arabian Princess for as many years as the costume fit over my clothes, at least two or three years. Mom bought the outfit a couple sizes too big just for that reason. My brothers either dressed up in dad’s old clothes or whatever they could put together from things they found around the house or out in the shed. They were usually one form of Hobo or another.
We followed the same route every year, remembering which houses had the best treats. One was famous for its warm, fresh donuts and another for its tender and tasty popcorn balls. Back then, homemade treats were not only safe they were the best. Store bought candy couldn’t compare. One of my favorites was a little bag filled with popcorn and candy corn. The salt and the sweet were a wonderful combination.
The common opinion among the trick-or-treaters was that apples were the worst. Not only because they weren’t a treat, they were heavy and would break through the bottom of a paper sack that had been set down in the damp grass too many times. For the three of us, there was the added fact that we had an apple orchard and could pick them anytime we wanted.
At the end of the night, when I was tired, my sack was heavy and I didn’t want to walk anymore, we’d end up back with our parents. Three sacks of candy were dumped on the front room rug as we displayed our loot. Mom and dad’s friends had first pickings, since they let us use their house as our base camp. Every year they’d ask, “What. No popcorn balls?” My brothers and I would grin. The popcorn balls never lasted long enough to make it into our sacks.
8 quarts popped corn 2 cups sugar
(a dishpan full) 1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup water ½ cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla Dash of salt
Mix sugar, corn syrup, water, salt and butter in a saucepan. Heat mixture to a hard boil or until mixture will spin a thread when dribbled from a spoon. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Quickly pour over popcorn and mix. Grease hands with butter and form into balls as soon as the popcorn is cool enough to handle.
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