What About The Candy?

Halloween is my least favorite holiday, if holiday it is. I don’t remember enjoying it even as a child. Well, not beyond the candy.

Late October in Minnesota is usually teeth-rattlingly chilly, especially on the prairie where the wind screams across the Dakota border. When Dakotans say Badlands, they know whereof they speak. Consequently, when I was little, we wore winter coats over our costumes and, frankly, fairy princesses and ballerinas lose something in that translation.

By middle school or, as it was once called, junior high school, we were old enough to stay out til ten, soaping windows and stealing unpicked apples from neighborhood trees. High crimes and misdemeanors in 1946.

In high school, the boys took to tipping over country outhouses while some of us walked through the cemetary without flashlights. One of us fell into a newly dug grave. That was sort of interesting.

But, truth to tell, in childhood I was surrounded by family women who, had they lived in a different country, might well have been shunned as witches.

They read tea leaves, coffee grounds, and tarot cards, and deciphered the lines in our palms. They interpreted dreams and knew their way around a ouija board. When we children were sick, they dosed us with weird tasting herbs they had gathered along roadsides. Ghosts visited them, and my women dared to talk to them. If they dreamed of death, invariably someone close too the train west, as they say.

Compared with them, Halloween was ho-hum.

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