Updated: October 23, 2013 1:06PM
Part of the charm of Halloween through the decades has been that you get as much “stuff” as you can carry for free; it’s yours for the asking.
I grew up at a time when kids could roam the streets for hours without fear, sometimes running home to empty their bags or pillow cases only to go back out for more. Afterward, the fun continued as we would trudge home, tired but anxious to sit down on the floor, empty out our sacks, assess and sort our loot.
My friends and I had a system. One pile was for stuff we were willing to share but in reality, it was the junk we wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole. That usually included bruised fruit, packages of crackers and anything our moms might label as “suspect.”
In the middle pile went the candy we would hoard for a rainy day — off-brand chocolates, gum, hard candies, etc. Then there was the gold-standard pile. Snickers, Milky Ways, Almond Joys … full bars back in those days; none of this miniature nonsense. The discovery of hard cash — assorted nickels, dimes and quarters — at the bottom of the bag was cause for great celebration.
We were Halloween treat connoisseurs and proud of it.
What have been some of your favorite finds in your Halloween bags?
Joyce Wiley, Crown Point: Popcorn balls. The lady down the street made the best popcorn balls but it was all in the timing. If you went too early, you were assured of getting one but only one. If you stopped at the end of the night, you’d run the risk of her running out. But, but if she had extras, she’d give you a couple.
George Marcinovic, Lowell: Remember those little dots of candy that came on what looked like adding machine paper? There was this guy down the street who would buy yards of the stuff. He’d rip off a hunk and toss it in your bag. We loved those things but that sure wouldn’t fly today.
Jon Garity, Lowell: We lived out in the country growing up so there was really nowhere to trick-or-treat house to house. Mom always felt bad so she created a tradition that, this one night of the year only, we could have anything we wanted for dinner. One time it was cupcakes; another time apple pie or a plate full of our favorite candy. More times than not, we were sick as dogs by the end of the night but very pleased with ourselves.
Paul Ostler, Merrillville: Somehow, every Halloween, my mom would find a way to slip a roll of dimes into our bags. Each year my brother and I would swear we’d discover who it was, never suspecting it was our own mom. I think I was 12 before I finally caught on.
Saree Richardson (7), Crown Point: My favorite things are peanut butter cups. My brother is allergic so he has to give me all of his. If he’s nice, sometimes I give him some of my candy too.