Taking my kids out for trick-or-treating made me think about when I was the one out trick-or-treating, over 30 years ago. We would get those Ben Cooper costumes in a box (I was the Road Runner for two years running–sorry!), and one year I had a broken leg but made sure to have my cast removed on October 31 so that I could join in the festivities. I was a devoted foot soldier in the trick-or-treat army.
We would walk around the streets of my neighborhood in Jerome, Illinois before going off to see one grandma or the other (sometimes both in the same evening). I always asked to do some trick-or-treating in their neighborhoods and was always told no. My treat gathering was confined to the two or three blocks surrounding where I lived.
There was the usual assortment of chocolate bars and Smarties and those orange and black-wrapped peanut butter things that were always the last thing eaten from the bag. But what I remember the most was one older lady in a house on the street that intersected with mine. Every year she would hand out a glazed donut in a wax bag, folded over and stapled shut. I always wanted to eat this donut, but was never allowed to by my parents. It seemed like a waste of a perfectly good donut (three donuts, if you count my younger brother and sister’s too), but their word was law and out the donuts went out when we did the big goodies sort at the end of the evening.
I’m sure that whoever the donut lady was, she’s since passed on because this happened decades ago. But I remember her now, and I appreciate the efforts she made for my siblings and I and all the other neighborhood kids over the years. Her unique offerings to us every Halloween were never as fully appreciated as I wanted them to be, but they are fondly remembered, just the same.