During a the second of two years when I lived at home to attended the local state university, I helped my parents hand out candy by being The Cowardly Vampire. Donning one of the many surplus capes my family kept onhand (the vampire is the easiest costume to make) I handed out candy while doing my fakest of the fake Bela Lugosi accents, cowering in fright at all the scary costumes. I had more fun when the costumes weren’t scary. The littler kids had fun getting the grown-up to squeal and yelp. It was fun.

As a teenager, the event once fell on a Saturday. My little sister went off to spend the night with her friends at one of their houses while my friends came over. There weren’t any plans to do anything holiday specific. It was to be another Saturday where we gathered in someone’s basement and tried to pass twenty-four hours before the dredge of school started up again on Monday. Someone had a packet of grease paint and our faces were done up in alternating clown/death metal/black metal sequences. We did not so much as ‘trick or treat’ as run, jump and holler for an hour before returning back to the home to spend the evening playing card games and watching television. There exists a lone photograph of the spontaneous results as evidence of the night. I’m standing off to the right, looking like a bad Alice Cooper knock-off.

When I first went out without a parent as a chaperone, it was I and two other friends. I must have been thirteen or fourteen because it was before Alex moved away. Alex, I think, was supposed to be the Grim Reaper, and I remember he had one of those Ghost Man masks right before they would be forever associated with the SCREAM franchise. I think Daniel was an army man, a prophecy that he would later fulfill by joining the marines. I can’t recall what I was, though I think there was facepaint involved. Might have been a skeleton, might have been another Grim reaper, might have been a vampire for all my failing memory provides. It was probably the first instance when the chase wasn’t worth the catch and I discovered a diminished return on the endeavor.

Seems as I get older, I’m growing more fond of those more innocent times when I accompanied my little sister. Our Dad watched over while we both went up to the doors to knock and ask for candy. After a night’s haul, the spread out contents inspected for deviant alterations would instigate the trade-and-exchange moments. Ultimately, by the end of November, each of our dwindling bowls of candy would be combined until Mom threw out the stale Dum-Dums and black/orange taffy, tossed to be forever uneaten.

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