Halloween was my favorite holiday as a kid. In California, it was still relatively warm in late October, so you could wear cool costumes without worrying about outerwear. We would go out for hours. And when I was about 9 or 10, my parents stopped coming with us. I was with a gang of kids and in the late 1970s and early 1980s, people were laid-back about that stuff.
Still, parents did worry about certain things. Back then, my mom and I would comb over every piece of candy, looking for pinholes. Also, anything homemade went in the bin, including Mrs. Janssen’s amazing chocolate chip cookies. Then, I’d group the candy by type, and depending on whether I was with friends or my brother, we’d start to trade.
My brother was an easy mark — he’d always take my Baby Ruths in exchange for his Reese’s, even though he didn’t like Baby Ruths. I hated Rolos, so those always went first, too. But the Snickers, Butterfinger, Milky Ways and Three Musketeers were keepers. Lollipops were lame, unless they were Blow Pops.
My brother and I were allowed two pieces of candy a day, doled out by my mother from some hiding spot. Of course, I always found the hiding spot and would cram extreme amounts of Smarties and Dots in my mouth. I’d pillage my brother’s bag first, and then mine, making sure to take the wrappers to a hiding spot in my room. I’d made that mistake before. Wrappers in the candy bag are a dead giveaway, kids.
Inevitably, there’d be candy that even I wouldn’t eat. Nine months later, I’d find a scrunched-up Trick or Treat bag in some lost corner of the pantry with Laffy Taffy in it.
I’d usually give it to my brother.