Halloween: A time to enjoy and be generous

Published 12:00 pm Sunday, October 30, 2022

October brings a lot to the table.  There’s the changing season bringing cooler weather, the colorful foliage, football, chili, bonfires, and pumpkin spice everything.  The quote from James T. Farmer, Editor-at-Large with Southern Living, says it all: “Fall is a Southerner’s reward for having survived summer.”  So true!  

It is projected that consumers will spend $10.6 billion this year on outdoor Halloween decorations, costumes, and oh, yes—candy!  

Full disclosure, I have never carved a pumpkin.  It looks messy and I think requires at least some artistic talent of which I have none.  And I know for a certainty that my dull knives would not cut through the thick rind of a pumpkin.  I instead opt for rubber and ceramic pumpkins which are re-usable.  I know, the coward’s way out.  

Email newsletter signup

I’ve heard that the new trend is to invite the babysitter for Halloween night.  Not to babysit, but to pass out candy while the parents don costumes along with their children and hit the neighborhoods.  This allows the parents to keep a close eye on their children, helping to avoid costume disasters, making sure they are visible to drivers, and keeping a check on the treats to ensure they are safe.  And above all, it’s just plain fun for all!

You all may be familiar with this:  “Trick or treat, smell my feet.  Give me something good to eat.  If you don’t, I won’t be sad.  I’ll just make you wish you had!”  

Do you know the origin?  I certainly did not until it started running through my brain non-stop and I just had to do a little research.  This dates back to the early 20th century.  In the mid- to late 20th century, there was a Canadian version:  “Trick or treat, smell my feet. Give me something good to eat.  Not too big, not too small.  Just the size of Montreal.”  Clever, right?  And conveys the idea that sets the tone for a large Halloween bounty.  

A song including this phrasing was written by Monty Harper.  According to his website, he is a songwriter for hire, teacher, entertainer, and recording artist.  He performs original award-winning songs for kids and families at schools, libraries, and festivals throughout Oklahoma and the region (https://lyrnow.com/1033130).  Mr. Harper’s expanded song version of the saying includes verses about a troll with a long, white beard that was insistent on receiving treats and haunts the person who refused him treats until he acquiesces and gives the troll a treat to make him go away.  Is a troll as scary as a monster, zombie, vampire, or a witch?  Don’t know.  

We lived out in the country when our boys were young and had to travel to a neighborhood that was more densely populated to do our trick or treating.  We always left a very large bowl of treats with a Happy Halloween note and direction to take a treat.  Of course, the bowl was empty when we returned home.  

We have always enjoyed the trick or treaters who came to our house.  It’s so fun to see the costumes the children have on.  And they have changed through the years from a simple plastic mask to elaborate and popular costumes portraying movie and cartoon characters.  So elaborate in fact that I wonder how long it took to decide on the costume of choice, where they bought it (or made it), and the cost of all that involved.  And as I mentioned earlier, the parents are also often in costumes.  What fun memories!  

Our boys still remember their Halloween holidays and their makeshift costumes.  They remember their favorite treats along with the houses/residents who gave them out.  I also remember our yard getting “rolled” several times.  It seemed to be a thing back then and was indicative of a certain degree of popularity.   I also remember inviting the perpetrators to join in the clean-up because we almost always knew who tossed all that toilet paper into our tree-filled yard.  

So, enjoy this Halloween and be generous with your treats.  You want to be remembered as the house that gives out the best ones!  


Bonnie Brown writes a weekly column for The Oxford Eagle. Contact her a bbrown@olemiss.edu