I was lucky enough to grow up in an age where it was still deemed safe to trick or treat. My parents, of course, accompanied me, but I am so grateful to have been able to trick or treat as a child. I do not want to offend anyone who organizes or participates in the trunk or treating events, because these precautions are necessary at this point in our history.
I know some children still trick or treat, darting from house to house, pillowcases or buckets outstretched, asking for candy with a cheery, “trick or treat!?” I imagine many trunk or treat events have a lot of the same charm, but there is something special to me about my childhood, getting dressed up for Halloween.
My tastes have changed quite a bit since childhood. Nowadays, I wear a lot of black, neutral tones and pants. When I was a child, I might have thrown a tantrum if I couldn’t wear my pretty dresses. In childhood, among other costumes, I trick or treated as many princesses, a ballerina, The Princess Bride, Scarlett O’Hara, a Lady Bug and sometimes a witch. When I consulted with my mother for this column, she said that any costume I wore, I wanted to be pretty and nice, “You always wanted something pretty so even you witch costume was pretty and friendly,” she said.
Even in my teen years (yes, it was customary to trick or treat until age fifteen in my hometown), I never went with a dark or scary costume. I wore a ladybug costume for a few years and the closest I came to a true Halloween scare was a character from Harry Potter. I have not had the opportunity, or not chosen to dress up for Halloween in my adulthood. The one time I did in my mid-twenties, I missed the memo that at my age, you are supposed to show up to Halloween parties in a moderately attractive costume. I dressed at El from the Netflix show, Stranger Things, complete with a box of Eggos taped to me and fake blood all over my face.
When the idea of Halloween plans began circulating my friend group this year, I was at a complete loss for a costume. I have a shirt that is yet another pop culture reference, “A girl has no costume,” from Game of Thrones that is simply an oversized black t-shirt with that phrase on it. I cannot even begin to explain that plotline unless you have seen the show.
So, I probably won’t be dressing up again this year, unless I wear the oversized t-shirt. But, I am leaving out a major part of Halloween in this trip down memory lane: candy. While I am old enough to remember traditional trick or treating, I am young enough to remember my parents insisting on checking all of my candy before I could have it. As an adult, I completely understand the cautiousness. As a child, it was torture. I had walked miles on my tiny legs in a costume and begged strangers for this candy. I had worked for this candy, drug it around in a bucket, braved the night and the scary decorations of neighbors for this candy. Why can’t I eat it already? My parents did not want to scare me, so they did not tell me why they needed to check every piece to make sure it was still sealed and while I never threw a fit about it, I wanted those Reese’s peanut butter cups, bad.
We had a conversation in The Bluefield Daily Telegraph offices about our favorite Halloween candy recently. The conversation was spurred by an article someone had seen about every state in America’s number one favorite Halloween candy. West Virginia’s top candy is the sucker candy, Blow Pops. While some agreed, some vehemently disagreed. After asking around the office our opinions are vastly varied. Some of us adore anything chocolate, others prefer sweet or sour.
No matter your preference this Halloween, scary or pretty, sour or sweet, stay safe out there, have fun and Happy Halloween!
— Contact Emily Rice at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @BDTrice