What is Halloween?

Western Ag Vignettes

Spooky heritage

Published on: October 24, 2013

If this Thursday's trick-treat night is successful, my grandsons will gather 4,394 pounds of pure sugar to consume over the next few days. I have padded the walls because they will be bouncing off them, and called to make dental appointments in six months when decay sets in.

Those princesses, super-heroes and zombies we'll find at our doorstep will again have turned into little boys and girls at the school bus stop Friday morning chatting cheerfully about what they want for Christmas, for H-day is just a kickoff for their biggest free stuff holiday.

A kid is a great thing to be, because it is all about them. They have parents in servitude through their 18th birthday, get free room and board, have a clothing allowance and unlimited expense budget. Not to mention the extras at birthdays and holidays, when we threat our little gunkies like there is no other person in the world like them in all mannners.

Yeah, I was as a kid, too. Great parents and two older brothers to spoil me. Christmas was a bonanza as a result, and the gift under the tree were unlimited (I am still opening presents from the years I was 6-12).

These days my job is grandpa rather than dad, and the change has some advantages. In this case I can say "Go ask your parents," instead of "Ask your mother." Seems like the extra person makes life less a problem for those things they ask for that I really don't understand (like the latest Transformer model or Wii Mario game). I am one generation removed from their world, and lost in the past too much to even want to be part of the present sometimes.

For one thing, I don't understand the big vampire/zombie craze. I read Twilight and decided Bela Lagosi was still MY vampire. And how do those brain-devouring zombies who return from the dead get so strong? They weren't in their lifetimes. Does new power come from the grave? Nobody seems to have an answer.

My favorite thing about Halloween is plain doughnuts with good cider. It is the only time of year I enjoy this particular pairing, and I am already trying to decide which store has the best choices of each. I wish I could sample some to make my decision, but each year it is a chance purchase.

No other person in my household of  five likes cider and doughnuts, so when they are out with the kids trick-or-treating, and someone else mans the door for visiting Ironmans and Doras (bad English), I sit in my little recliner and sip cider, munch on doughnuts, and watch Creature of the Black Lagoon movies (I have all three!).

I also might dip into the candy tray when others are not looking, and cram a couple of those little chocolate pumpkin-shaped thingies into my mug.

Admittedly, I am also a secret Easter basket raider.

Any day now, the stores will be bringing out the Valentine displays now and that means another candy event in the shape of your stressed heart as arteries continue to go through the holiday clogging.

It is all in good fun.