No Halloween costume parties this year. No blissed out flamboyant Halloween parades. Who knows if any little ghouls will be ringing our doorbell this Halloween? Will any tiny monsters stagger down the front walk is search of treats? In these uncertain days (and sleepless nights) we can only prepare, and hope, that some rituals will be observed again next year. In the meantime we can carve pumpkins and stream scary movies.
We never get many trick-or-treaters at our house, sadly. We have never managed to live on a popular Halloween street. We are always located just a couple of blocks away from the cool houses; the ones with the haunted corn maze, and pre-recorded sounds of chain saws, and full-sized candy bars.
A couple of weeks ago my grownup daughter implored me not to hand out boxes of raisins – raisins? What kind of psycho would do that? I am not the evil queen out to get Snow White. We are reliably boring. We have bought some insurance Halloween candy, in case anyone does show up: Snickers bars (“Fun Size”) and Reese peanut butter cups sit in their bags on the hall table. Taunting me. And so far I have resisted their crinkly wrappers and kabillions of calories.
Halloween is going to be on a Saturday this year, with a full moon. How great it would be to be a kid, trotting around the neighborhood, toting a shopping bag, swinging a flashlight. Your mission? To amass as much candy as you can. Sweet Tarts, Mr. Goodbars, Dots, M&Ms, tiny Hershey bars, little packets of candy corn, Skittles, York Peppermint Patties, Starburst, Hot Tamales (do you ever see these at any other time of year?), Jolly Ranchers, Tootsie Pops, Milk Duds, Milky Ways, Junior Mints, Twizzlers, Heath Bars, Baby Ruths, Mounds, Almond Joys, Smarties, Tootsie Rolls, Nestle Crunch bars, Butterfingers, KitKats, Twix, and the always exotic Swedish Fish.
And then there is the sorting, counting, cataloging, and trading that all kids do. Dots and Smarties were never popular, and tended to be the least valuable and the last eaten. We lived in Florida for a number of years, where inevitably it was stinking hot on Halloween, so chocolate was a dicey proposition: so much melting, such disappointment. Still, it was better than my childhood in Connecticut, where some years it was cold enough that you’d have to wear a winter coat over your carefully designed costume.
This year we are going to make our own entertainment for Halloween. I found this great recipe for homemade peanut butter cups at Food52, because they are the cool kids and you would want to go trick or treating in their neighborhood: https://food52.com/recipes/24460-homemade-peanut-butter-cups
But Martha’s Halloween decorations are bound to be amazing – she’ll probably pull the chainsaw ripcord right next to your head: https://www.marthastewart.com/335622/easy-peanut-butter-cups
Afterwards you will need a drink. Perhaps a nice Vampire’s Kiss cocktail will be in order on Halloween. An elegant death: https://www.thespruceeats.com/vampire-kiss-martini-recipe-761200
If you have four kinds of rum on hand then you could make the Zombie: https://www.esquire.com/food-drink/drinks/recipes/a3763/zombie-drink-recipe/
Have a haunted, yet socially-distanced, Halloween, and maybe next year the little ones will troop through our neighborhoods again.
“Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and owlet’s wing,—
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.”
― William Shakespeare