Trick-or-treaters have a spooky but safe Halloween

What do you call an empty hot dog? A Hollow-weenie!

What do you call an empty hot dog? A Hollow-weenie!

All kidding aside, even though I don’t do any trick-or-treating any more, I have always enjoyed just browsing through the wild and weird new costumes in the stores, as well as watching the youngsters get so excited on Oct. 31 before they venture out on this most spooky evening in search of a big bag full of goodies. Throughout their eerie journey they will most certainly try to avoid encounters with the supernatural ghosties, witches and goblins who also howl and invade on this eerie night — also hoping not too many neighbours insist they sing for their treats.

I don’t really know how long it has been since all of you did the Halloween night adventure, or how much it has really changed over the years, but my most favourite Oct. 31 memories began with dressing up for the school party and getting to act silly without doing any work all afternoon. In place of the usual boring lunch, we usually got some extra goodies to nibble on during that fun day, and as long as we kept our mask and costume on, this was the one and only chance of the year to sneak a kiss from the girl you have a crush on but who thinks you are a nerd.

Another real good but messy time about Halloween was helping to carve that big pumpkin into a scary or happy face, then carefully sticking the candle in the bottom, then placing it in the window or on the front step where it will flicker in the wind and scare everyone who dares to  come calling at your haunted abode! Remember when we were either too young to go out on Oct. 31, or old enough to think it wasn’t cool anymore, we likely had to stay home and hand out the treats, under the strict instructions of two to each caller — and absolutely no nibbling.

My first memory of going out on Halloween night was having to get dressed up in four layers of clothes before pulling a sheet with eyeholes over the top, or trying to look like Superman in a suit that was way too big for little old me. In those early days we had to prowl around the neighborhood in groups or with our parents but were allowed to politely gather (and say thanks) for as many sweet treats as our pillowcase could hold, as long as we were back home in bed by 8 p.m. While out and about, most of the little guys loved to tease the girls, who were usually dressed as angels, wicked witches or movie starlets. Many of you from the late 1940s and ’50s will also recall that on Halloween night we were asked to collect pennies in our UNICEF boxes that went to support needy children in other countries.

Of course there have always been a few tricks to go along with the treats later on that hallowed evening but most of the pranks, like soap on the windows, the occasional egging, decorating with rolls of toilet paper and even tipping over the odd outhouse were usually quite harmless. On the other hand, there were always those late night tricks that could and have resulted in damage to property or endangered others, and these would be considered a crime, and should be reported to the RCMP. I fondly remember when we grew out of the trick-or-treat stage, we often dressed up and joined in on the Halloween fun at a local tavern or private party. Great fun but please have a designated driver for your broom.

I guess when we became parents we also fussed over our excited little pranksters on Halloween night? Before you send them out in their fabulous store bought, homemade, or hand-me-down costumes, please make sure they are dressed warmly, are able to see well on that dark night, have a flashlight, and go with a buddy, who just might have a cellphone. It is also a good idea to not sample any of the goodies in your bag until you get home and your parents have had a chance to check them out.

It is also great that many clubs, businesses and organizations have hosted Halloween parties that are a good opportunity to have some weird, wild, and warm fun on a frigid winter night. For those who are unable to hand out treats this Halloween or will not be home, leave your porch lights off, and if you are out and about, please drive carefully.

Whatever the case, our fearless weather prognosticators are telling us that this Halloween night, Wednesday, Oct. 31, will ring in at five degrees C, so get them ready, buy lots of low-calorie treats, and have a great week, all of you!

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