Passing the Halloween torch

The best part of Halloween this year came an hour or so after the last costumed kid rang our doorbell. That last kid was one of seven visitors we had the entire night. Big change from the days when we lived across from the governor's residence an...

Terry Woster

The best part of Halloween this year came an hour or so after the last costumed kid rang our doorbell.

That last kid was one of seven visitors we had the entire night. Big change from the days when we lived across from the governor’s residence and entertained anywhere from 600 to more than 700 boys and girls every single Halloween, snow, wind, cold, rain or whatever else.

We moved to a place in the north part of Fort Pierre a year ago, you know. While the mail carrier and the UPS and FedEx trucks still find us with commendable regularity, the trick-or-treaters apparently don’t. We’d been warned that this year wouldn’t be like the many years at the other place, but I didn’t know it would be so absolutely not like the old place.

Back in the day, Nancy shopped candy bargains all fall. By the afternoon of Halloween the shelf in the basement was piled high. It looked a bit like a sandbag wall, if you want to know the truth. This year, we stocked up with one bag of assorted mini candy bars. Yes, it was a bag of 60, but still, one bag of candy for Halloween?

At the other place, we used to take jackets and gloves and sit on the porch all evening. The kids would file past in an unending stream, and we’d pass out the candy. When Nancy was doing the giving, she let each kid choose something from the bucket. When I was in charge, I acted more like a blackjack dealer in a Las Vegas casino, wheeling and dealing and the kid better have the goodies sack open or the candy was headed for the lawn.


Monday evening, we sat in our living room, reading and watching a bit of television, taking turns answering the door. We each had two turns – all night. Whew, talk about a hectic evening of tricking and treating.

This might have been the first year in four decades we ended the night with leftovers. In the past, we might have finished the onslaught with a pawed-over Tootsie Pop and a couple of baby Snickers with torn wrappers and gouges in the chocolate. This year, we finished with an ice-cream bucket full of treats.

I suppose we could leave the bucket on the kitchen counter and eat our way through the candy over the next several days. Neither of us needs that much sugar, though, so I’m thinking we’ll bag the stuff and freeze it for next Halloween. Sixty minus seven leaves 53. Divide that by seven, and we’re looking at enough leftover candy for the next seven or eight years. Candy doesn’t get stale, does it? And if it does, it’s still candy. People eat it, anyway, right?

You’re thinking the leftover candy was the best thing about the night? You’re wrong. The best part came when I opened my Facebook page to see who among our friends had posted photos of their kids and grandkids in spooky costumes.

The very first post was a photograph from the folks who bought our old house. The picture is a selfie and shows dad, mom and young son. The boy is in a costume, maybe a monster. I’m fuzzy on costumes. The three of them are sitting on our old porch swing (leaving the swing was kind of a deal-breaker in the negotiations last year. So was leaving were the luminaries, visible on the porch railing in the background.) The mom and dad have the happiest smiles I’ve seen in a long while. The son is probably wondering when he gets to hit the sidewalks and ring some doorbells.

I couldn’t tell you how much time we spent on that porch - just the two of us sometimes, joined by kids or grandkids other times. Nancy and I have never missed the old place since we moved, but it sure was nice to see that a young family is getting the same kick out of it that we did for so many years.

It’s such a great old house. It deserves to be home to a family that knows how to appreciate it.

Related Topics: TERRY WOSTER
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