Spooky Days Gone By…
So Halloween is this week and I've been kind of nostalgic. Some people get really into the holiday. I don’t have time, energy, or money to go all out, but in spite of it's negative origin – I really have always liked Halloween. It’s the first holiday in the holiday season – so I’m sure that accounts for part of why I enjoyed it as a kid. Thanksgiving was a lame holiday to me (I know I was a shallow child!). I didn’t love to eat turkey, the Pilgrims and Indians were okay but all that talk of how thankful we were for everything got old fast. Christmas was, obviously, the crowning glory of all holidays – but then you got gifts from your family – people who loved you. There was something magical about Halloween – a night when everyone was your friend. Each house was approachable – and profitable – even if you didn’t know who lived there. And there’s just something about dressing up that appeals to kids of all ages. So we would come home from school, dress up, and bide our time anxiously until the sun set and it could be technically considered ‘night’. Then my parents would turn us (along with a hundred other kids) loose on the neighborhood. Wearing a costume gave us anonymity and courage. We knocked on doors, smiling adults answered, and they gave us candy. Now that’s the stuff that dreams are made of! I have been trying to remember for a week now a single costume that I wore as a child and I can’t. It seems like that would have been important – but I guess it wasn’t. I do remember that feeling of the world being my oyster as we began our walk around the neighborhood. There were so many houses, so many happy people anxious to greet us, so much candy to collect. We were fresh and energetic and dreaming of the pounds of candy we would eventually take home. The first phase was so fun, running from house to house – laughing and breathless. Then our bags started to get heavy and we started to get tired. But we persevered! So much candy, so little time. Finally we would find ourselves on the far end of the neighborhood. It was seriously dark. It was cold. Our feet hurt. Our bags were really heavy. Our costumes were awry. The houses between us and home no longer seemed like opportunities – they were obstacles. We just wanted to be in our warm living room where we could admire our spoils. So we started trudging home, not even stopping at the houses that earlier had seemed so appealing. It took forever, dragging our bags full of candy and sometimes carrying a younger sibling who just couldn’t make it without help. But when home finally came into sight – with lights shining brightly from the windows – we got a little second wind and ran. We were welcomed back like conquering heroes. Costumes were semi-discarded by the door and we each staked out a part of the living room to dump out our bags. One year there was a minor tragedy – we realized, too late, that my brother’s bag had developed a hole and most of his candy had fallen out during the walk home. But that was easily solved. The rest of us divided out a part of our candy and gave it to him. His tears dried up, his grief was gone. We separated the night's treasure into good candy, okay candy, and the candy nobody wanted. My dad would always ask for candy from the reject piles – claiming he liked it. I thought that was amazingly convenient since we didn’t want it and it was therefore easy to share (hard candy, those orange and black chewy toffee things). Now I realize he chose from that pile so we could keep the good stuff. We would trade and bargain and eat as much as our mom would allow. Then finally it was time for baths and tooth-brushing and bed. There was a little sadness that it was all over, but we were so tired and we had a lot of candy and there was always next year. As I drifted off to sleep I’d remember all those houses we left un-trickortreated and vow that next year we would get to them all! Happy Halloween to Curt and Julie and James and Amanda – my trickortreating buddies! Special memories with some really special people!
Thursday is the last day to comment to win my book giveaway for this month!
Recipe of the Week
This recipe is one of my favorites. I made some this weekend and it was delicious – nice and warm and filling and easy to heat up a bowl at a time on a busy weekend. So if you’re looking for an easy dinner this Halloween (and you’re tired of chili already!!!) here’s a suggestion:
8 medium to large Idaho potatoes (peeled and cubed)
2 cans chicken broth
1 can Cream of Onion soup
1 can Cream of Celery soup
8 oz. sour cream
1 pint half and half
8 oz. Pepper Jack cheese (grated)
In a large pot, cook potatoes in chicken broth on medium heat until just barely tender (about 15 minutes). Reduce heat and add cheese (stir regularly to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pot). Add other ingredients and stir well. Continue to cook for just a few minutes until warmed through. Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve it a bowl at a time!