As you know, Halloween is here! Kids of all ages will be out trick or treatin' and I pray everyone gets their treats without any problems. It is a scary time, this day and age, with kooks puttin' razor blades, needles and broken glass into candy the kids will eat. It's bad enough with the danger of kids bailin' outta automobiles and runnin' out in front of other vehicles. So, please, please, please, be careful out there, folks.
Yes, sir. Times have really changed since I was knee high to a grasshopper. Of course, I've been trick or treatin' only two or three times in my entire life. I wanted to go last year but...., okay, okay. I'm just jokin'. I haven't been trick or treatin' since I was about seven or eight years old; and that happened 'cause I was visitin' my nephew, Mike, in Shreveport that particular Halloween.
In fact, I believe that is the only time and place that I've ever enjoyed reapin' such sweet benefits. I was happy to find people who would give me candy without expectin' money in exchange. Mom and Dad were happy 'cause I wasn't askin' them for money to buy candy. My dentist was happy 'cause...., well, I ain't too sure but I guess he just likes to see kids happy!!
The main reason I didn't get to trick or treat was that I grew up in the country and there weren't any kids around to do it. My Aunt Lou would always make me a popcorn ball and my mom might bake some kind of cookies, but other than that, it was just another night for me.
There was a time, however, when Athens High School held a Halloween Carnival. And I remember the first time I went, which I believe, was my very first year there. And no, I wasn't 16 years of age at the time, but about six.
We couldn't afford to buy a costume or even a mask... okay, okay. Don't say it. I know I didn't need a mask for I was scary enough without one! Now that we've got that outta the way, may I continue?
As I was sayin', we couldn't afford a mask so my mom took a paper bag and drew a face on it. She then cut out eye, nose, and mouth holes and put it over my head. That, my friends, was my Halloween mask for the carnival.
I suppose the entire first grade, as well as other grades, were given numbers and marched onto the stage to be judged while wearin' our "costumes". After a few minutes of bein' judged, we were marched to a row of seats where we were told to sit and wait.
This kid right next to me turned and asked, "Who are you?" To which I replied, "Galen". He said, "Oh, this is me..., James."
Well, now, I thought. Who's he tryin' to fool? I knew James. James was a buddy of mine. But this dude sure as heck didn't look like the James I knew. I can't remember what mask he was wearin', but it was one that I wasn't too gung ho on bein' friends with!
Finally, he pulled his mask off and I recognized my ol' buddy, James Duke. I then removed my paper bag and the world was okie dokie again. That is, until they called out the numbers of the first grade contestants who were picked as finalists to be re-judged.
Quite honestly, I wished I had not been picked 'cause I couldn't get the bag back on my head. Runnin' to catch up with the others with the face of my mask lookin' behind me and complete darkness in front of me didn't make for a very happy Halloween re-judgin'! I remember some adult finally catchin' me and turning me around inside the bag where I could once again see what it was I was fixin' to run into.
Well, I didn't win my division, but that was quite all right with me. There were too many goblins and ghosts runnin' around to my likin'. I didn't believe in 'em, but just in case, I wasn't gonna become too friendly with any of 'em.
Once the judgin' was over and the other kids removed their masks, I began to see and recognize more buddies and classmates. And the homemade treats available to us sweet, sweet-lovin' kids, was indeed a treat!
Again, to both kids, parents and grandparents, please be careful out there. Happy Halloween to all of ya'll!
Galen White lives in Homer. His column runs on Friday in the Minden Press-Herald.