Halloween is around the corner, and it comes as no surprise that the boys have already donned their costumes. Joaquín has decided to be Batman again–though switching colors from black to a more traditional blue. Javier has changed slightly by becoming Robin. Their choice to repeat super-hero themed costumes follows in a family tradition.
I wore a farmer costume about five years in a row. My family’s lack of imagination and proximity from any store made this an ideal last-minute choice. My sister and I would wear a pair of jeans, our dad’s old work shirts, seed caps and boots. Living twenty-five miles from town, we’d wait until our dad came home from the field after dark, jump into the pickup, and make the rounds to our relatives and neighbors—which included driving about twenty circuitous miles on gravel roads.
My dad would walk us to the door and then chat with whomever was there about corn harvest or crop prices or the weather. My sister and I were as patient as we could be considering candy awaited us somewhere out in the darkness. Eventually though, we’d tug on the bottom my dad’s worn Cargill jacket, trying to coax him back into the warmth of the pickup and the strategic conversations of who had the best candy considering the ratio of miles to travel to get it.
Aunt Lillian usually had a line of plastic-wrapped lollipops hanging from the door like a rainbow. Our cousins Bill and Jodi gave us a whole candy bar, something we couldn’t fathom as our mother always made us split one. We’d take our time reaching into that big bowl to decide the one we would savor in a few days. Uncle Skinny and Aunt Leanor often had homemade cookies in baggies. When we’d exhausted our options, we headed to our grandparents’ house.
Last, but certainly not least, our grandparents awaited our arrival with homemade caramel corn balls wrapped in Saran Wrap and plastic pumpkins filled with an assortment of candy, gum and suckers. We’d sit at the kitchen table sipping hot chocolate, our bounty in pillowcases at our feet. If we were really lucky, Grandpa would make homemade donuts, too. After an hour of conversation, and hopefully a peek at some neighbor kids in their costumes, we made our way out into the night. Our stomachs filled with sugary goodness, we’d drive the four miles back home.
What did you do for Halloween as a kid?