Halloween is the easiest holiday to hostess: all you have to feed people is store-bought candy.
I take a lesson from my own childhood when it comes to Halloween handouts. My siblings and i did not care for people who gave you apples. One lady in our neighborhood gave them every year. You’d say a sullen thank you when Miss Gulch (that may or may not have been her name) dropped one in your bag, and then, as soon as she closed the door, you’d chuck it in her yard. I imagine her going out to get the paper the next morning and seeing her front lawn littered with rejected fruit. You’d think she’d have taken the hint after about a decade of this.
Once in awhile you’d get a caramel apple. While these were not quite as poor a choice as apples, due to the caramel factor, they were trouble: what were you supposed to do with them? You couldn’t toss them in the bag with the other stuff; they were way too messy. You couldn’t stop and eat them, because that’d take several minutes in an evening that’s all about urgency. You couldn’t bring yourself to throw them on the lawn, like you would a plain, bio-degradable apple. That was against our anti-littering upbringing. So we did the honorable thing and ditched them in a garbage can, up the street and out of view of the caramel apple donor.
While we liked most treats that were sugar-related, when we got a house that gave out full-sized candy bars, we felt like we’d won the lottery. Word would fly up and down the street: “Go there! That brick house! Big candy bars!”:
I always imagined the people who lived in the Big Bar houses to be wealthy beyond anything, calmly lounging in clothing that was not machine-washable, their hair perfect, sipping Scotch from crystal tumblers, casually distributing what I thought must have been thousands of dollars worth of candy to low-life scroungers like me.
Once, figuring they would be too rich to care or notice, I, in a frenzy of greed, hit the same house twice. But the lady of the house called my bluff: “I believe I’ve seen you tonight already, haven’t I?” I retreated, in a paroxysm of embarrassment, resolving that the following year I’d dress as a ghost instead of as a freaking Trick-or-Treat bag: an innocuous costume might make double hits at Big Bar houses easier.
Tonight I’ll be going to my friend Lynn’s house for a pre-Halloween party. As I’ve done in past years, I’m dusting off my witch’s hat (and attitude). Speaking of excellent Halloween handouts, Lynn’s are the best: martinis.