The dreaded moment has arrived — a new column. What to write about?
Luckily for me, my column falls on Halloween, so there is a built-in subject. So now I just have to figure out something to say about it. Halloween is —
Halloween is —
Halloween is fun?
Actually it is. While some things about Halloween have changed, the basics are the same. Kids still get to dress up in cute costumes and get free candy. Adults get to relive some of their own youth, take kids around in cute costumes, and get some of the stray candy that’s floating around. Win for everybody.
What I will call the delivery method has changed a lot. I have been in the halls at Moses Lake High School for trick-or-treat night, and in downtown Moses Lake and downtown Brewster during the trick-or-treat walk. All of them really are fun — seeing all the little kids and the kaleidoscope of costumes, handing out the candy. At the trick-or-treat walk the high school halls are packed and loud, and for once nobody minds.
It used to be different, of course. Society used to have higher expectations for itself, I guess. Third- and fourth-graders roamed without parental supervision through half the neighborhoods in our small eastern Oregon town. (By fifth grade, we were getting a little too old for that kid stuff, or so we said. So we chaperoned the little kids around. But if candy was offered, of course we took it.)
Some kids planned out the route to avoid the houses with substandard candy, but we weren’t so fastidious. You could always throw away those wafers that tasted like cloves (Necco?)
The one house that sticks in my memory was across the highway — who worried about crossing Highway 20 at night? — two blocks from the grade school. My friends Julie and Janice and I ran up to the porch, knocked on the door...
And the porch light went out.
Then a yellow flashed on and the door swung open —
And there, in the doorway, was a werewolf. Holding a big bowl of candy.
Julie and Janice, being quicker thinkers than I, took to their heels. I didn’t move, not because I was too scared to move, or too brave, but because I was too dumbfounded.
Not a werewolf, not really. There is no such thing. But in the yellow light that mask looked kind of — werewolfy, or something. But would a werewolf have candy?
There was, as I recall, a slight growl, and although this was long before the original “Star Wars” movie, he sounded a little like Darth Vader. And he gave me candy, good candy I think, a little extra candy even. And I said “thank you,” just like my mom had taught me.
I think I caught up with my friends by the end of the block. (I hit the houses in between. I mean, come on. Halloween.)
Of course we never spoke of the incident.
Many years ago I did hear a story about Halloween, a cow and the roof of the old Brewster High School, although I think it’s pretty implausible that the cow ended up on the three-story section — but another time. Maybe next year.
Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. She always carries Milk Bones in her purse in case she meets a werewolf.