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Gilroy
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April 4, 2020

Tag: senior memories

Senior Insights: All treats no tricks

I was floored recently to read that Americans are likely to spend almost $7 billion on Halloween this year. Only $2 billion of that will be spent on candy, the rest for costumes and decorations. Adults are way more involved in Halloween festivities these days than when many of us were kids.I cannot recall a parent back then who bothered to dress up or do much more than greet trick-or-treaters at the door, pretend they had no idea who was hidden behind a mask or garish makeup, and then hand out big Baby Ruth or Nestle Crunch bars.I was lucky to grow up in a small town much like Gilroy, when about 20 neighborhood kids would go trick-or-treating together each year. We usually raided our parents’ closets for old clothes or costume jewelry so we could dress up as gypsies or ghosts, but nothing too elaborate. Then we would head off, excitedly determined to stay out way past our bedtimes even if it was a school night.One year for reasons I don’t recall, we all used big brown grocery bags for our candy and, sure enough, it rained buckets that night. We spent the next few hours picking up wet candy off the street as the soggy sides and bottoms of our bags split open. After that we switched to pillowcases.One year my little brother decided to carefully ration his Halloween candy so he could make it last until Easter, and then he would make his Easter candy last until Halloween. He actually succeeded, despite my pathetic whining around mid-November that if he really loved me, he would share some of his candy with me. Naturally, he refused. We still laugh about that.We also remember the Halloween when a big group of us arrived at a house several blocks away and were greeted by a sweet elderly woman who told us that she had just run out of candy. “I just got a color TV, though, and you can all come in and watch ‘Flipper’ in color,” she said. We were beside ourselves with excitement, since this was in the 1960s and none of our families could afford color TV at the time.We first discussed among ourselves that although our parents would not want us entering a stranger’s home, we outnumbered her by about 20 people. Surely we could keep one eye on her to make sure she wasn’t an axe murderer while we watched “Flipper.”The seniors here at Live Oak Adult Day Services all agree that their parents were only marginally involved in Halloween when they were kids and didn’t even accompany them when they went trick-or-treating. Gail recalls the excitement when a neighbor gave out pennies, because she could buy two pieces of candy for a penny. Others fondly remember when a large candy bar was truly large, and lament that the sizes have shrunk over the years.Susan says that one of neighbors handed out popcorn balls each year, and she would have to eat at least some of it before she got home again or her mom would eat it. Rob laughs and says his own stash of candy would dwindle after a few days once his parents and sister helped themselves to it. Some said they worry about giving out candy nowadays when so many kids seem to have food allergies.For many years we enjoyed a Halloween visit to Live Oak from the pre-school located right across the street. The kids, usually dress as princesses or superheroes, would be shy at first. Then we would break out rolls of toilet paper and tell the kids to wrap their teacher like a mummy. That always broke the ice. Before we knew it, the kids would be running around excitedly and joining us as we danced to “Monster Mash.”Sadly, the school’s owner retired this year and the school closed. We’ll be doing our own mummy-wrapping this year, but I’ll bet we still dance to “Monster Mash” with as much wild abandon as our little visitors have done in years past. We may be adults, but there is a kid inside each of us.