December 4, 1975     Sense and Nonsense

Halloween night has come and gone. One thing I have noticed in recent years is that this one night of the year is usually always raining. I believe there is a conspiracy against the witches, bats and other beings who formerly flew proudly through the moonlit skies on this, their very own evening. Of course the modern day witches could have automatic pilot controls on their brooms. If not I am sure they must be grounded on the extremely dark, wet Halloweens of late.

Wet or not there are still quite a few soggy mud-splattered earthbound ghosts and goblins tramping about ‘trick or treating’ on Halloween nights. However there seems to be fewer of them every year. Maybe it is the locality of wherever we happen to live.

One year we lived one street below the population belt. A friend up the hill complained that she had at least a hundred callers every Halloween night. That year I had decided to make caramel apples for Halloween treats. Caramelizing apples sounds easy but I discovered it is a very messy chore. The kids and I managed to caramelize the kitchen stove, cupboards, various pots pans and spoons in no time at all. We also caramelized fifty apples.

On Halloween night we removed the delicious looking apples from the refrigerator and laid them out on the table. I also laid out a large bowl of chocolate bars and candies for the unfortunate children who would arrive too late to receive an apple. At six o’clock there came the first knock at the door and we handed out the first few caramel apples. An hour later there was another knock and that was it. We handed out a total of ten caramel apples which included a double for one little girl who was in both groups. After the trick or treaters who lived at our place helped themselves I discovered we still had thirty-five caramel apples on hand.

We very soon found out that wrapping caramel apples in waxed paper for sanitary reasons is not a good idea. As a matter of fact caramel apples are not a good idea. The caramel has a tendency to soften when exposed to room temperature effectively gluing the waxed paper to the apple. Every apple eaten was an experiment in frustration. We eventually discovered the best way to eat them was to peel the softened carmelized layer of waxed paper off. Eat the candy off the paper with a spoon and wash the apple. The naked apples were later eaten the way nature intended them to be.

One Halloween we had just moved to a small town. The lady next door was a!so new in town so we decided to walk our small children around the neighborhood. Trick or Treating is definitely a very dull spectator sport. We paced outside each house in the brand new snow for what seemed like hours. Finally there was only one small house in the neighborhood left untouched by our Halloweeners. We knew an old bachelor lived there, probably a grouchy type who despised kids. The children wanted to finish up with this house so we reluctantly agreed to let them do so. As the door opened and the children filed inside we felt a twinge of apprehension. Ten minutes later we realized our mistake in allowing our little darlings to challenge this small but possibly sinister house. With shoulders back we stalked formidably up the path to rescue our offspring from whatever evil dwelt within.

We knocked loudly and the door opened. Inside we spied three happy little faces drinking hot chocolate and chatting with their host, a little old man who seemed to be enjoying their company very much . “Kids never stop here on Halloween,” he told us. “So this year I was unprepared for them. I thought a hot chocolate would be nice on a cold night like this”.

The lonely old man waved goodbye as we left and again apologized for having no candy on hand. “Be sure and stop in again next year. I’ll stock up.” he added.

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