By MIKE WEST
Few Halloweens slip by without me thinking about my younger days and my first - and only - costume back in the 1950s.
It was a red devils outfit complete with a mask.
I was horrified by it ... much to the delight of everyone except my brother Van, who was scared silly by his own black cat costume.
Both costumes came from Texas or at least I thought they did. You see, my father had just returned from an endlessly long drive to Texas to visit his brother in the hospital there and he brought all sorts of presents for his sons. There were cool Mexican sombreos and those durn costumes. My mother got a beautiful Alamo plate which is still on the wall of their home.
Well anyway, finally a compromise was worked out over those scary outfits. After all, I was afraid to even be in the same room with mine. That scary mask was just too much. We could wear a little black mask if we would just pose for a photo along with our scary Texas jack 'o' lantern.
Tears were streaming, but we did it. There's still a photo around to prove it.
Halloween has certainly changed since those years.
Especially trick or treating ... it has really changed.
Back when I was a boy, we would walk for miles filling our (relatively) big bags full of candy, popcorn balls and shiny, red apples.
Heck, some people even handed out money usually in the form of dimes. Others would offer you a real candy bar not the tiny replicas available today. Of course, you could get a "real" candy bar for a nickel or a dime in those days.
In more recent years, things really began to get out of control with cars full of teenagers hitting every neighborhood. Dressed in normal street clothes, they carried pillow cases bulging with candy. Those teens just bang on the door and hold out those big bags then dash to the next house and once the neighborhood is clear just roll on to the next.
Because of that, trunk or treating has emerged as many folks favorite Halloween event. I'm sure you are familiar with the term.
Such events are perfect for little kids. The danger presented by dashing around a neighborhood is eliminated and so is the potential for unsavory characters.
Fortunately, Halloween along High and College Streets is much like a big Trunk 'N Treat on Halloween evening. Those streets are blocked and vehicular traffic is prohibited. Throngs of kids and their parents make their way down the two streets, collecting candy along the way. It's a fun, joyful experience with homeowners sharing treats and the American Legion and the folks at Adams Memorial Library adding to the fun.
As for my own Halloween experience... Dang it, I'm just too , uh, old, uh "not young enough" to go collect candy. Besides my poor teeth just aren't cut out to handle my favorites. But, can you even find Kraft caramels any more? Probably not.
But the candy issue won't stop me from wearing my usual costume this year.
Expect to see me as a bearded, bald-headed journalist complete with comfortable walking shoes and a camera. Maybe I should wear a fedora hat with a press card stuck behind the hatband?
Reckon not! I'll leave that to oldtimers like Dandy Dan Whittle. Talk about a serious spookster!