Halloween Tradition

 

We tend not to be sport fans and seldom attend spectator events, as we prefer to act it all out by staying very active. If there’s an exception to that behavior however, it would be Halloween, when we generally prefer to be watching, while giving away candies, instead of mingling in the street with the rest of the revelers.

Naturally, when our children were very small, we used to go out with them and participate around our neighborhood, with everyone, but this is a very long time ago! In fact, from the moment our own children became old enough to go on their own, we played that all-important role of standing by the house to warmly welcome and actively engage all the “Tricks or Treaters” that rang our door bell.

That’s right, we’ve done it for almost each one of the 28 years we’ve been in Park City and just regret that, over the years, we haven’t bothered to keep a count of our colorful visitors – we only begun that practice in 2006 and a pictorial account of the many spooky visitors we had the privilege to treat.

This year, for the very first time, I ventured into Main Street, Park City late afternoon to shoot a video about the incredible celebration in Historic Old Town. The street, closed to traffic, was literally mobbed with kids, parents and dogs all dressed up in wonderful costumes. An impressive sight that I must revisit next year!

Going back to our neighborhood, and starting just after dusk, it’s not uncommon to see up to 80 dressed-up visitors coming in 20 or more groups, most of them being young kids, sometime toddlers with the parents staying in the background. Teenagers are fewer and tend to show up later in the evening.

Attendance varies with the day of the week Halloween happens to fall on, sometime economic events and to a greater extent, weather; can have a huge influence upon the numbers of people we see. Last year, we didn’t stay at home as we went to the Salt Lake Valley to spend the festive evening with our four-year old grandson.

While some neighbors conspicuously make sure they’re not home for the occasion, we always make a point of welcoming all “Trick or Treaters.” Over the years, the treats we offered have run the gamut. For instance, while I was active in the ski industry, bright-colored Velcro ski ties would be part of the offering along with an assortment of candies. One year we proposed a choice of treats between processed Cliff Bar and all-natural banana so we could attend to everyone’s dietary concerns.

I also always make the extra effort of sporting my trademark French béret as a genuine gesture that I, too, am fully immersed into the costumed side of the celebration. Some outfits are sometime pretty creative and can catch us by surprise, although most of them are comfortably warm to address our cold late October evenings.

All goblins, spiders and other insects that come to our door are mostly very polite and have never smashed our token pumpkin. Halloween is a festivity that we plan for in advance, and take quite seriously. Like many other holidays, we find that most of the fun is in the anticipation and preparation of the event. That’s right; we never leave anything to chance or to the last minute.

Recently, my wife read somewhere that it’s not a great idea to purchase Halloween candies in advance. I asked her if the candies held for too long might eventually lose their taste, become rancid or just pass their expiration date for optimum freshness. She told me that it was simply that people who see a sizable supply of sugar treats lying around their house for an extended period of time can’t generally resist the temptation.

It never occurred to me, but I should have thought of that, as I am a typical offender who can’t help but help myself when I stand less than 10 feet away from our candy basket that is strategically placed next to my office. I shrug off any suggestion that I have an addiction by countering that sampling the supplies it’s a good way to make sure that the stuff we give away is delicious and also to gradually acclimate to the inevitable candy overdose I receive at this time of the year. I don’t usually get spooked by too much sugar, at least not around Halloween!

So while we “open shop” with great anticipation on Halloween night and welcome our first visitors while daylight still lingers, we also go to bed fairly early and never stay “open” till midnight. Generally, by 9:30 pm, as the visitors become scarcer, we turn-off the lights, set aside the left-over goodies and call it an evening. This way, the rest of the night is left for the ghosts and other Tommyknockers to freely roam wherever they please!

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