Jim Bartlett's Blog



Trick or Treat at Grandma's house

The most popular costume for Halloween 2014 was Elsa from Frozen, and it wasn't even close. Lots of news stories this week noted how expensive Halloween costumes have gotten--you could pay upwards of $150 bucks for an Elsa if you wanted to---and although you probably got a more sophisticated look, it's doubtful whether anyone got more pleasure than we did all those years ago, from those cheap Ben Cooper costumes you could buy everywhere for three bucks.

Because we grew up on a farm, Halloween was not quite the big treat bonanza it was for our friends who lived in town. Our costumes were mainly for the school Halloween party; our trick-or-treating was generally limited to our paternal grandparents' house on the other end of the farm. One year when we were very little, my grandmother greeted us at the door of her house wearing a Halloween mask of her own, which we thought was just fantastic. If we were feeling especially brave, we would occasionally visit our neighbors down the road---my mother knew they had nieces and nephews who lived nearby, so a couple more trick-or-treaters wouldn't strain their candy supply. But the idea of going into town to trick-or-treat with our friends was never broached, and may never have occurred to us.

(Grandma's Halloween stunt was in keeping with her sense of fun, which was displayed in numerous ways over the years. One year just before Christmas she fell and broke her wrist, and as a result was unable to do her usual Christmas shopping. That was the year we got Christmas gifts from the grocery store. My brothers got boxes of cereal, while I got a gallon jug of dill pickles. We thought this was so fantastic that for years thereafter, our Christmas gifts from Grandma and Grandpa always included something she'd picked up at the Piggly Wiggly.)

My paternal grandparents have both been gone a very long time now, but I always think of them at Halloween.

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