has always been my favorite time of year, not due to the splendor
of the colorful foliage, the crisp breezes heralding a new season,
or the savory scents of autumn that inspire us to get our pumpkin-spice
freak on. Instead, what I love most about the fall is that it kicks
off a series of beloved holidays in quick succession, giving me an
excuse to ingest my own body weight in pie. These indulgent celebrations
begin with glorious Halloween, an event illuminated by jack-o-lanterns
and awash in corn syrup.
My parents always went out of their way to make holidays like Halloween
memorable events for me and my big brother. On Halloween night, Dad
would take us trick-or-treating throughout the greater East Texas
area as we happily sweated like feral piglets and risked asphyxiation
in those 1970's plastic sensory deprivation Halloween masks with the
rubber band. And to this day, Mom and Dad still cap off Halloween
night with a special feast of chili dogs and Frito pie-because nothing
complements a gutful of candy corn and Snickers bars like a hearty
serving of processed meats.
As my brother and I grew older, overdosing on nougat was no longer
enough of a thrill for our pubescent systems on Halloween, so our
thoughts naturally turned to toilet paper. Yes, the greatest achievement
for any teenaged male was to "roll" the trees in someone's front yard
with bathroom tissue, especially if that someone distracted us in
math class with her freshly glossed lips and Gloria Vanderbilt perfume.
I vividly remember the first time several of my fellow dweebs and
I rolled a pretty neighborhood girl's house on Halloween night. We
could barely contain our hormones as we flailed around trying to get
a good TP streamer over even the lowest pine tree branches. I thought
my dad was the coolest dude on the planet for hauling us there in
the middle of the night and even serving as our getaway driver-that
is until I discovered that he had made arrangements with the girl's
father in advance to ensure that we wouldn't all wind up stuffed and
mounted over their family's fireplace. Even so, it was a thrilling
experience that forever changed the way I look at Quilted Northern.
Now that I have my own children, I feel it's my duty to carry on the
Halloween traditions that are now a permanent part of my psyche and
blood sugar levels. When our three daughters were little, it was so
fun letting them dress up as ballerinas, fairy princesses, and various
cartoon characters with expensive costume licensing contracts. I still
treasure the memory of taking them trick-or-treating, helping them
sort through their candy, and reminding them that Almond Joy bars
are really only safe for adults.
These days, my youngest daughter is the only one of my three children
who still likes to go trick-or-treating. Her older sisters are now
solidly in their jaded teen years-when their reaction to just about
everything I do is "SMH" ("Shaking My Head" for those of you who still
use actual words) unless it involves my handing out cash.
Last year on Halloween night, we were having an epic late-October
East Texas toad strangler, complete with an unnecessary display of
thunder and lightning. But my youngest daughter and I wouldn't be
deterred. I know I only have a year or two left before she, too, will
only look at me if I'm adorned with removable $20 bills, so I was
determined to take her trick-or-treating, even if I wound up drowning
in someone's flower bed. Despite the weather, we had a great time,
and my daughter finally learned to swim without holding her nose.
This year, I encourage you to experience the fun of a traditional
Halloween. Purchase your children a costume that costs too much, take
them trick-or-treating even if it rains, and if you don't have young
kids, you can always have a lot of fun with a jumbo package of Quilted