Trick-or-treat ... Halloween never boring at any age

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, right behind “Punch a Prairie Dog in the Face Day” on April 12, which, admittedly, is not widely celebrated, despite my and my fellow committee members’ diligent efforts.

What I love about Halloween is how it brings out the best in people, including your co-workers. It’s a day when plain-old mild-mannered Norma from accounting becomes Norma, the slutty nurse. Or Norma the slutty witch, or Norma, the slutty cheerleader.

Because. lately, that seems to be the trend in female costume fashion — sexy outfits. Judging by what I see in the costume aisles, women are supposed to demean themselves for Halloween by donning ridiculously tight outfits that show too much leg, while obnoxiously flaunting obscene, jaw-dropping cleavage — all things I strongly support. Now that I have a daughter, however, I’m longing for the good old-fashioned, more innocent Halloween costumes. I’m not going to dress up my 9-month-old baby girl as a sexy pirate.

One, because it’s morally wrong, and two, because it’s extremely difficult getting fishnet stockings to fit over a diaper.

If you don’t believe me, just ask Joan Collins.

I’m really not even sure if I should get a costume for the baby. At 9 months, she doesn’t have a clue about Halloween.

She doesn’t appreciate candy nearly as much as she appreciates chewing on the throw rug in our living room. “No, let’s not eat the floor coverings” is something I say a lot in my house. So we’ll probably skip the trick-or-treating, unless we happen to hear about a family in the neighborhood passing out carpet samples.

According to Wikipedia.com, trick-or-treating can be traced back hundreds of years to a medieval England ritual known as “Souling.”

With “Souling,” kids would stand outside homes in their village at night and recite lengthy prayers for the souls of the dead.

This, naturally, bothered some of the villagers, who didn’t like being interrupted while they were trying to watch the World Series.

Nevertheless, excited children would race from door to door (being sure to look both ways before crossing the street so they wouldn’t get hit by oxen) and pay their respects to the dead, after which they’d be given a “soul cake.” A soul cake was a dry, square piece of cooked dough with currants in it.

So, basically — after standing around all night in a cold, late-October English drizzle — singing songs and saying prayers, the kids would be given what amounted to a crusty, dried-out piece of raisin bread. This is how the tradition of egging houses got started.

Eventually, immigrants brought “Souling” over to America, where it morphed into today’s traditions. The phrase “Trick-or-treat?” was first introduced in America by the children of mafia bosses. At least that’s my theory.

How else would you explain the thinly veiled threat inherent in the phrase “Trick-or-treat?” We sometimes forget about the “trick” part, but a kid at your front door asking “Trick-or-treat?” is, in essence, conveying the message, “Hand over a mini-Snickers bar or they may be an unfortunate incident involving your willow tree and a roll of toilet paper.”

In fact, the whole concept of trick-or-treating is sort of at odds with conventional parenting. One minute we’re telling our children things like: work hard, be yourself, avoid strangers and eat healthy, and the next minute we’re encouraging them to put on a mask and go up to random people and beg for sugar.

Which reminds me of that one group of trick-or-treaters, the older ones who show up every year at 9:30. The ones who look like they may be just a little too old for Halloween, based on how they parked their motorcycles in the driveway.

They’re not really dressed in costumes, and they sort of give you an attitude like, “I’m too cool for this, but I want your candy anyway.”

And they never say thanks.

This year, I’m ready for this group. I’ll even have a great attitude when they pound on the door:

“Hi guys! Happy halloween! I made a special treat for you. It’s called soul cake.”


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