I ate my wafer...



A. I had a mostly normal childhood.

B. My parents are great people.

C. The somehow managed to screw up Halloween.

I never got to go trick or treating when I was young. I hadn't really thought about it for years, if ever, but this weekend I realized that I totally missed out on that part of American cultural tradition. My parents live some 3 miles from Montpelier, OH, a rather average small town of 4,500 in Northwest Ohio. Although I suppose I could have trick or treated at the handful of neighbors we had out in the country, it was never suggested, and I doubt they would have had candy to give out to the 2~5 possible children they might get each year. So, that left the possibility of trick or treating in Montpelier itself. Unfortunately, Montpelier was in the grips of some sort of candy-tampering paranoia at the time, and was conducting a school sponsored candy distribution.

The way it worked is that you showed up at the school on a designated night around Halloween with or without costume. You could participate in a costume judging contest, but mainly you stood in a long line with all the other children to receive your allotment of candy. (That's right, Children on the government's candy dole.) So, after standing in this line, in the cold, for an hour or so, you received a bag of candy and went home. In fact, as this was occurring near the fall of the Berlin wall and the collapse of the USSR, whenever I heard about soviet or east German citizens standing in lines for food, I thought it was like the Halloween candy distribution. Sometime after I gave up on the Candy Distribution they either eliminated it entirely, or simply officially gave it as an alternative to the regular official trick-or-treat hours (daylight weekend only times near Halloween). At that point I was sort of, as I remember, too old to be interested, and wrote off the whole holiday.

Oh, I did carve the jack o' lantern (always outfitted with a flashlight, I only recently discovered that some families use real candles), and eat candy, but I never did anything else with the trick or treating.


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