The taste of plastic, then candy

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It doesn't matter where you grew up - if you wanted candy in late October, you had to don a mask, then taste and smell plastic for a few hours.

But it was always worth it.

That sweet tooth that had been festering since midsummer would be finally soothed by the perfection of wrapped confections.

But I was even more fortunate, since I grew up in Central Montana in the early '70s, when the thought of someone tampering with Halloween candy was unspeakable.

As such, many of my neighbors actually made their own Halloween treats, and these came to be prized possessions in our sacks.

Sure, the Snickers and Milky Ways were tasty, but the homemade taffy, fudge and popcorn balls had a little love baked right in.

I remember our first Halloween out, our mom dressed my twin brother and I as hobos, complete with belonging wrapped and tied on a long stick. We probably could have won some contest, if they would have had one in our area.

After that first Halloween, our parents succumbed to our desire to transform into whatever character we saw on the store shelf, the box always including some fabulous plastic mask to cover your identity. That was important, especially if the best homemade treats in town were handed out by the next-door neighbor, and she might be a little miffed about you walking on her lawn all year long. Going incognito was the only way to get something tasty from the sourpuss.

I feel sorry for the current crop of trick-or-treaters, who will never have the chance to bring home a bounty of tasty homemade treats.

I remember when we were growing up we'd hear a story about someone putting a razor blade in an apple, so if you got one, you were supposed to check for an incision. Since the story was just that - a story someone had heard - we never took Halloween tampering very seriously.

Nowadays, you can't be so sure. If you believe some people, creeps abound that would like nothing better than to sicken some kids on one of the most joyous days of the year.

But back to the real reason for the season. You get to dress up, be whoever or whatever you want to be, and scare someone if you really want to, and get away with it. What's not to like?

Sure, there are a few houses in every area that keep their lights off, and cower in the back room while their neighbors welcome the costume-clad creatures to their front door. Maybe they can't take the scare, or maybe they are just too tight to afford a bag of candy once a year. Their loss.

I'd come home with a bagful of treats that appeared like they would last for months. Maybe I overate, maybe one of my brothers would find my stash, or maybe Bigfoot broke in to satisfy his sweet tooth, but at any rate, the bag of sugar rarely lasted more than a week.

From that moment on, one thing was on my mind:

How many days left 'til Christmas?

You can attempt to reach Jerry Hitchcock at 664-8176, Ext. 2017, or via email at jhitchcock@cdapress.com. Follow him on Twitter at HitchTheWriter.

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