First a witch’s hat off to all those families who managed to make some sort of Halloween in the aftermath of the big Sandy storm. Candlelight and stories often last longer in the memories of children than candy. Candy is very sticky though, something of a fetish, befitting a pagan festival. I can hardly stop thinking about it.
I was overprepared for this particular holiday in that it fell on a school night and my visitors were underwhelming in number. Yet my neighbors were inspired by my backyard decorations to get their pumpkin lights out and make a real bonfire on their front lawn. I couldn’t beat that. Their lights are still on by the way. I think they have a hangover. The only thing I had on fire was my REAL, (not electric) pumpkin below.
Note the very tiny specks of sparkly snow underneath which add that Alaska je ne sais pas as well as make a smooth transition to the traditional holiday season. I consider Halloween a post christian/neo-pagan celebration in that it addresses fear by playing around with it instead of pretending everything is going to be okay, we’re all going to be saved and there is enough food for everyone. I know it looks like it’s all about the candy but I say it’s all about the id in the largest sense. It’s a treasure hunt through dangerous territory, unknown neighbors and territories. It’s Ulysses and all that stuff.
Best costume of the night was a child with warm coat and a light saber accompanied by his fully costumed gigantic dad, Darth Vader.
Best candies of the night – Tootsie pop drops sent by my sister. I ate all of them.
They have that comfortable old-fashioned taste of citric acid which then melts away into a chocolate caramel. Note that for people who are kind of clueless they have included a hint that these are “Tootsie pops WITHOUT the stick!” They are indeed but much smaller and could conceivably have been called Tootsie poops.
In high school I figured out how to make tootsie rolls myself with the use of a magical candy thermometer. I made them for a bake sale at a football game once. No one bought any. At first I was embarrassed. I realized they looked like little poops. Then, like most good cooks, I was ecstatic because I figured out I got to take them all home. There’s nothing as fine as ugly delicious food you can have all to yourself.
Another interesting candy find, from some kind of bag ‘o 80 candies I bought for my 15 trick or treaters was the Willy Wonka Nerds.
I knew there must be something special about them when two tiny sisters got angry as I gave one a purple one and the other a pink one.
“I want a purple one too.”
“I want a pink one too.”
This said as they actually reached into the bowl, pulled it down to their level and plucked out the extra candies. Although I was surprised at their assertiveness I felt this display was in keeping with the monster theme of Halloween and so much nicer that grabbing women’s body parts on Mardi Gras.
Like the Tootsie pop, Nerds are loaded with citric acid and sugar so that your tongue thinks its discovered familiar fruits but they’re shaped like tiny pebbles. The pebble part makes them difficult to handle. They spill all over the place but what kid cares about that? The killer is that it took me over 10 minutes to eat a tiny box! There are a ton of pebbles in there and they are kind of hard to chew and too sour to suck all at once. Unless you actually are a child I guess.
I figured out a new way to make my yard look scary too. I had a seated skull headed person holding a shark in a bucket. Don’t ask me why, I just have this stuff hanging around the house. I also had a witch which I tied to my deck fence with a belt and sat her on a broom. Trouble is when it’s dark you can’t see this stuff very well so I stuck some of those flickering bike lights in the snow and up a tree to freak out kids and give them seizures (just kidding they weren’t true strobe lights). It’s the only way to get people to come to your house in Anchorage. It’s too cold for kids to walk around in a flimsy costumes so most parents drive them around and then stop only at the houses that are snazzed up.
We are the keepers of an ancient tradition, that of fear and of reward for overcoming that fear. It’s a glorious game that adults admit they don’t want to give up. The dressing up and indulging in naughtiness frees the soul to travel to the other side. Who needs drugs when a little makeup or a mask will do the trick? In life you have to play to win. May the odds be forever in your favor.