Halloween is coming

We are fast approaching the end of October.
Next Wednesday evening, the sidewalks will be filled with ghosts, goblins, witches, and super-heroes. The leaves are being raked and leaf bags resembling pumpkins are gracing the front of homes.
Blow up pumpkins, ghosts and even an eye adorn front yards. Ghosts hang from trees, and some even shout from hidden locations. Halloween is fun. This weekend will be the final push for treats and candy.
When I was a young boy, living on Third street behind the arena in Fort Frances, my brother and I used to cover those two blocks and Second street. We had our independence that evening to travel those several blocks for treats and candy.
We learned at a pretty young age which houses had the best treats. There was a lady on Second street who every year made huge popcorn caramel balls. It was a house we didn’t miss. There was another family on Third that had the best red candy apples that you could imagine, tossed off with icing sugar.
Another house had caramel apples. Those were the three homes we didn’t miss.
Of course we had to identify ourselves to get those treats and I doubt that not everyone who showed up at those doors received those home made special treats.
The red candy would stick to your teeth as you sunk them into the apple. So would the brown caramel that probably came from the apples being dipped into Kraft caramels. They were fun to eat, and pulling your teeth away from the apple was work in itself.
About this time almost fifty years ago, the Kiwanis would bring in boxes of BC MacIntosh apples that were sold throughout the town. They were one of the least expensive treats that could be given away. They were probably the healthiest treat that we were given. It seems to me the apples went into the fridge. We weren’t excited by those apples. I can remember going to four houses in a row and getting an apple at each and thinking that I had wasted my time going there.
Today, we go to the local super markets and stock up on packaged treats for trick or treaters.. We probably wouldn’t let our children accept one of those popcorn balls or candied apples. And handing out apples just does not happen anymore. Times have changed. Looking through new articles, there is a huge push on for healthy snacks and treats.
I don’t know if those candied and caramel apples that we treasured would make the case for a healthy snack, or even the caramel balls. There was a neighborhood convenience store at the corner of Third and Crowe and the owner would bring in a large barrel of peanuts in the shell.
He was a gruff gentleman, who knew every kid in the neighborhood. On Halloween, he would let you take a double handful of shelled peanuts and put them into your treat bag. You were only allowed one double handful.
Halloween was a fun evening. I don’t remember the trudging through snow, or going door to door in the rain that my mother remembers. I don’t remember being cold. I just remember the fun and the excitement we felt on that dark October evening.

–Jim Cumming,

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