Once upon a Halloween, I was a kid who didn't need parents to escort me from door to door, nor did I wear expensive store-bought costumes. After someone brought me a poncho from Mexico, I was a Mexican Hat Dancer for three years. Of course being a hat dancer meant planning a routine because someone would always ask me for a trick.
Get it? "Trick or Treat." In the St. Louis of the 1960s that expression meant exactly what it said. Kids rang the doorbell, said "Trick or Treat," and gave the homeowner a choice: Give candy immediately or ask for a trick. As a Mexican Hat Dancer, I did a dance. In other years, I wandered the neighborhood with a joke to tell.
When I mention this tradition around Memphis, people look at me cross-eyed. That's not the only Halloween culture clash from moving 300 miles south. The first time my husband left to take our son trick-or-treating, he came home and asked, "Did you give out a candy?"
|My kids: Halloween 1995|
I said, "Sure. I gave out lots of candy. One to this kid, another to that."
He said, "But did you give out a candy?"
I hadn't a clue that he was trying to find out whether or not we had candy left. Go figure. We've yet to give out a candy, except for the year that the neighbors threw a huge party with gazillion kids, but didn't tell anyone they were coming.
Another Halloween memory of mine was Mrs. Zimmerman's Donuts. Every year, David's mom made homemade donuts that she'd give to all the children. I never ate one.
Kids can be quite literal, and that I was when Mom always said, "Never eat anything unwrapped." So year after year I'd skip those sweet smelling snacks that all the kids would go out of their way for. If I could go back in time, I'd eat one of her donuts on Halloween; but, it's not all bad. The memory of skipping donuts inspired my latest novel. I wonder if this manuscript would even exist if I'd eaten a donut. I also wonder if her son, who grew up to be a chef, bakes these donuts on Halloween. If he does, I just might have to go to St. Louis and ring his bell.