The ghosts and goblins will be haunting local neighbourhoods this evening in search of Halloween goodies. For me, trick-or-treating nostalgia takes me back to those gentler and kinder “smell my feet – give me something good to eat” days when I was a child.
Halloween was an event that merited considerable planning and strategizing with my siblings and friends. We would draw maps of the surrounding neighbourhoods, plan routes and calculate the “candy density ratio.” This would determine the rate of candy intake over the amount of available time and generate discussion on which streets might warrant a quick costume change.
Of course, back in the late ’70s and early ’80s you could still knock on doors till about 9 p.m. and be well received. Our carefully planned door-to-door enterprise was quite lucrative and most entrepreneurial. The math skills employed were truly practical and relevant to our purpose.
Once home with our pillowcases of loot, we would categorize and graph the haul. Then the stock market of trading for a preferred treat with siblings and friends would commence. Potato chips and Chiclets gum were more prevalent while chocolate bars were the rarity. How times have changed.
Yes, back in the good ole Cold War era, Halloween seemed … safer.
Now, I’m not saying that those were not scary days at times, what with the threat of nuclear annihilation and such, but there appeared to be more civility and even decency from world leaders. I mean, who didn’t want to dress up as Mikhail Gorbachev or Ronald Reagan? And, as All Hallows’ Eve faded into All Saints Day, we would revel in our sugary windfall and think ahead to next year’s costume ideas and candy density route.
Now, every day is Halloween but there are far fewer treats. The news feeds and headlines tell their scary stories about the big orange pumpkin-head politicians, cackle their fake-news falsehoods, mask their civility, and wail like banshees against what any reasonably educated person would discern to be decent, honest, truthful and just. Heck, even Gollum would decry today’s “tricksy, filthy, nasty” politicians. How precious is that? Perhaps if Dickens’ three ghosts might pay a visit to certain world leaders, we might just find ourselves living in times that are more of a treat to enjoy and savour than the current post-truth, hollow shell of integrity world of political tricks we are subjected to today. Who could say boo to that?
Wishing everyone a fun and safe Halloween. Hope you have a spooktacular time!
Tim Cusack is an educator, writer, and member of the naval reserve.