Taking Candy From Strangers

 I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s on Cape Cod, and I think back to when I was a kid, and it makes me sad how Halloween has died.

Today, most kids have everything, and a lot of them don’t know they should be appreciative for it. They have time with their parents, and have their focus, clothing, homes, food and access to technology at a pretty early age. There are a lot of kids that lack the ability to play, in fear of getting hurt. They always win and never suffer disappointment.

I know, I should’ve let go when I was too old to go trick-or-treating.

There was all of this fear propaganda in the 80’s about hippies that handed out stickers laced with LSD, they put razor blades and needles in candy bars! (the razor blade and needles thing did actually happen- I looked it up on snopes.com.) Anyway, my family wasn’t really into Halloween. My stepfather’s brother was murdered on Halloween in ’87 in Providence, and the rest of my family didn’t really celebrate it.

https://i2.wp.com/static.yourtango.com/cdn/farfuture/Peqwht_LR0naWOSonMtFBRw0GY4X1XF4KgjYPzeSvcA/mtime:1378397686/sites/default/files/image_list/clarissa.jpgI always dressed up like a punk every year, or what I thought that was. I was drawn to that type of anti-fashion by eight years old. It was cheap, fun, and colorful, and I thought I was awesome. Come to think of it, the 80’s and 90’s were a mash-up of disgusting patterns, colors and VESTS. Really, everyone was in a costume for two decades.

When I was a teenager, Halloween was a tradition of petty vandalism. We’d get a bunch of plastic utensils and stick them into people’s lawns. In those scary times with the acid hippies, bad hairstyles and baggy

pants, our parents gave us the freedom to go door to door, leave the house, and make mistakes.

My first experience in Salem, Mass., I was 17 and I was with a group of friends and we decided to drop acid. I don’t believe we obtained it from hippies. We started to peak a half hour upon arrival; we were sitting on the corner of this tire place, and I watched as everything was changing, moving, breathing. This guy from Ireland was with us. He was hired to work at a motel in Hyannis that my friend’s dad managed.

We decided to go to a haunted house. I couldn’t stop laughing because everyone was really animated. I was also completely insane, in my own world having my own experience. We turn a corner, and some rubber masked ghoul thing jumps out and grabs at the Irish kid, so the Irish kid reacts by punching him in the stomach, so we were all thrown out.

Hanging figures, Salem Witch Dungeon, Keith TylerThe trip turned bad for me when everyone was scrambling to figure out who would be driving home.
I was laying in the back seat of some girl’s car and just closed my eyes the whole way home. It was my 2nd trip, and honestly- neither were the fun I anticipated.

The next day, the back pain and weirdness settling in- that I didn’t like the intensity of the trip, and I wasn’t the type that can live in that reality/delusion for long periods of time. It wasn’t something I wanted to do again. (even if I did.) I was just a confused kid, just trying to figure things out in the world. Feeling a little out of place in the world, yet I was so curious about the world. So, I’d seek anything I was told was dangerous, because I wanted to know why. (even if I was told.) Those were my choices.

I’ve lived back on the Cape for six years. I have not seen any trick-or-treaters. Simple fun things like that have become so regimented with Nazi-esque curfews and scheduled play dates with other doting helicopter parents.

Perhaps the parents of today were reckless and criminal at their age, like I was, and they don’t want their kid to get the candy bar with the razor blade or the LSD. I know, it’s your job to protect them, but acid hippies aren’t wearing a special costume to let you know, and they probably don’t use social media.

I think about what it must be like to grow up in today’s stifling world. Growing up with technology, a wealth of information and distraction.

With knowledge comes responsibility.

So, the more we read about mass murderers, abductions, rapists, etc. the more fearful and inward we turn. When in reality, all of these things were happening when your grandparents were children.

1794995043_7306b61c4f_zI’m not saying let them drop acid or take candy from the creepy guy in the van. I’m saying stop policing, scheduling, or taking away kids fun over fear campaigns and your own personal attachment to making sure they always make the right choice. Avoiding everything that may hurt is a stagnant life, and a fearful life. How does a person pick themselves up after a fall and shake it off if you’re always there to prevent it, and how does a person truly have fun when everything is about being controlled, repressed and monitored?

Halloween is supposed to be fun for kids. They can be whatever they’d like for a day and get to eat tons of candy and have fun with their friends. I’ve heard some schools don’t even have Halloween parties anymore. Maybe those people are those hippies that put razor blades in candy bars.

I will always take candy from strangers on Halloween. (especially the ones that leave a bowl of it outside.)

 

Sara Wentworth is an artist based on Cape Cod. She and her husband Adam are the crazed minds behind Secret Society Art.

The 2015 Weird Food Round-up: Two Savories, Two Sweets

I never know where my annual ‘October food’ posts are going to take me. Sometimes, I find a lot of spooky party platters. Other times, it’s a trendy ingredient or a bizarre new dish from a restaurant… this year, I found myself gravitating toward some particularly good entrants into the Weird Food Race in the areas of convenience eating.

Photo by Mike Mozart via flickr

The Halloween Whopper
Burger King is bringing a black burger, similar to one of the menu items in its restaurants in Japan, to the United States. I’ve written about the burgers Japanese Burger Kings (and McDonalds) have introduced in the past… Now, their weirdness is coming stateside, with a few Americanizations.

Contrary to the Japanese version, which is made with squid ink, the American version will also have a pitch-black bun —  made with A1 steak sauce baked into the bread. Beyond that, it’s basically a Whopper slathered with even more steak sauce; no complaints here.

https://writerjax.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/5d66f-hard-rock-cafe-octoberfest-burger.jpg

The Schnitzel Burger
Hard Rock Cafe has rolled out the Samuel Adams OctoberFest Schnitzel burger, which will be available at all U.S. Hard Rock locations until October 31. It features a lightly-breaded pork schnitzel, beer cheese sauce made with Samuel Adams OctoberFest beer, smoked bacon, sauerkraut, whole grain mustard, and fresh arugula on a pretzel bun. The arugula seems extraneous.


Yoo-hoo Candy Bars

For the nostalgic sweets-lover in all of us, there’s a new offering on the candy racks: the hard-to-describe taste of Yoo-hoo is now a candy bar, available in Trick-or-Treat sizes and, according to the wrapper, ‘milk-chocolate flavored…’ so its origins are just as sketchy as the original drink.

By far the favorite of the newsroom. Coffee and caramel

Caramel Macchiato Candy Corn
In likely the only instance we’ll ever see of the candy corn culinary experience being elevated, Brach’s has concocted a coffee infused bag of yummy that assures me the candy inside is also made with real honey. So, it’s good for you.

Read last year’s post

Blogtoberfest Guest Post: Three Days in October, by Joseph Bednar

October 29, 2011

I’ve had better Saturdays, and that’s before the snow arrived.

My wife and I spent the afternoon starting a big kitchen project, installing a tile backsplash between the countertops and cabinets. We’d already several hundred dollars on the tile, and I would have been happy coughing up another $500 to have someone come in and cement it up.

But Jenn was confident we could do it, and she’s usually right about those things. Once we got the pattern down, she sawed pieces with a tile cutter in the driveway, then applied a coat of mud to a section of wall, and I’d follow by laying each individual piece. It was slow, methodical work, and honestly, I don’t relish big household projects with the gusto Jenn does. But I have to say, it looks pretty awesome today.

The forecast called for snow across Massachusetts Saturday evening, which was odd for late October, and not ideal for the dogs; besides our own pair of springer spaniels, we were dogsitting two golden retrievers, and would have preferred a dry weekend so they could spend lots of time outside in the fenced yard. But maybe, we thought, it wouldn’t be a lot of snow.

By late afternoon, however, it was coming down hard — to the point where Jenn started to worry about the dogwood outside our back porch. Her mom had planted it decades ago, and when Jenn built a little mulch garden beside our patio, she made the tree, maybe a dozen feet tall, the centerpiece of the design. We love that dogwood. But the early snow — wet and heavy — was bending the branches troublingly low, so I went out with a big broom and shook the snow off the branches, soaking myself in the process. But the snow kept piling up on the branches, so I did it again a little later. And again. And again.

We lost power around 8:30 p.m., and wound up sitting by candlelight in the living room with our 6-year-old son, Nate, and four nervous, panty dogs. After he went to bed, we stayed up a little longer, looking out the big bay window at the snow and the irregular flashes of greenish lightning — or what we thought was lightning. That burst of color, we learned later, was actually a power line snapping and landing on wet snow. We saw a lot of flashes.

Eventually, after shaking off the dogwood one last time, we retired to bed. I fell asleep quickly, but Jenn didn’t; she was too worried about the trees, which audibly groaned and creaked outside. As she posted on Facebook around midnight, “Can’t sleep. Just lying here listening to trees falling and Joe snoring.” And later, just before 1:30: “Just lost a whole tree and large branch. Extremely freaky night. Can’t believe Joe is sleeping thru this. Oops, something’s cracking, going to check it out.”

If the night had a soundtrack — besides the gusting wind, cracking branches, and ice sheeting against the windows — it might have been Ojo Taylor’s “Animals and Trees”:

“The wind is up at 3 a.m. The power’s down till God knows when.

A candle does a minuet, moving shadows and silhouettes.

Silence, please: all the world is on its knees.

Mother Earth will have her say. Mother Earth will have her way.”

But still I slept. I don’t think Jenn ever did.

October 30, 2011

I awoke to the clatter and whine of snowblowers and chainsaws.

It was a clear day, with muted skies in the morning giving away to searing blue later on. Temperatures, chilly at dawn, would eventually rise into the 50s, melting most of the snow — well over a foot, in fact — and leaving the world a slushy mass of wet, jagged branches.

Every yard — and, unfortunately, several damaged roofs — were covered in them. Dozens of smaller trees had been plucked out by the roots because the unfrozen ground wasn’t ready to bear the snow weight. We were lucky; we lost all or part of seven trees, but nothing fell on the house, or even the shed, deck, or backyard fence. Even the dogwood, which bowed dangerously during the night, survived and regained its shape in the morning.

People were walking up and down the street, marveling at the damage, but also the stark beauty. In the early hours, before the mercury crept up, the fallen branches lay caked in thick snow. Everything would be ugly soon enough, as city workers disposed of half-fallen branches, leaving the treescape jagged and raw, but for a moment, the world was mostly calm — the grinding chainsaws aside — and oddly pretty.

No one had power, and frankly, we didn’t expect to get it back anytime soon. So we ate lunch that day next door, in a circle of fold-up chairs in Jenn’s sister’s driveway. (We live next door to her brother as well, at one end of a horseshoe-shaped street named after their grandfather.) We figured we’d be throwing out our refrigerated food soon enough, so everyone brought over what they had, and we grilled dogs, burgers, and beans, eating on paper plates in our laps. We chatted and laughed and counted our blessings.

But then the sun went down, and the rustic charm of having no power became oppressive. The house cooled quickly, even after the warmish day. Meanwhile, we needed milk for cereal, which was all Jenn or the kid wanted for dinner, so I jumped in my SUV and headed to a Stop & Shop we’d heard was open, about four miles away. While driving, I realized I had no gas — I mean, none — but I kept going, figuring one of the gas stations near the store might be open as well.

The traffic on Memorial Drive leading to the supermarket was terrible. Everyone, it seemed, was converging on this one patch of Chicopee rumored to have power, and as I crept along, the digital meter that showed how many miles I had left in the tank dropped from 3 to 2 to 1 to 0. Once at Stop & Shop, my heart sunk; only one gas station was open, and the line at each pump was probably 30 cars long. So I bought my milk, got back in the car, and headed home, hoping the fuel gauge was programmed with a tiny bit of leeway. I probably should have parked somewhere and had Jenn pick me up, but my phone had run out of charge hours ago.

“And then to me she softly speaks, screaming in silence mysteries

of long ago and far away —
the world had always lived this way.

Somehow I know she points her finger at my soul.

I’m a child left all alone. I’m an orphan without a home.”

But I managed to make it home, and everyone ate their cereal, and then … just went to bed. After a day of cutting and dragging branches across the yard, no one was really in a talking mood; warm blankets and a long sleep made more sense. So we snuffed the candles and called it a day.

October 31, 2011

Thanks to a Cumberland Farms near our house that unexpectedly opened Monday morning, I was able to drive to work, as downtown Springfield’s block of office towers isn’t quite as vulnerable to power outages as tree-lined, residential streets. I don’t remember if our son, who was in first grade at the time, had school; if not, he surely spent the day at one of our workplaces, reading and drawing pictures and building Legos.

The previous night had been cold, and we were worried about the pipes freezing if the temperature dropped and the power didn’t return. Jenn and I were able to charge our phones at work, though, so at least we had some communication with the outside world.

Fortunately, Halloween would be our last day without power. Our city runs an electric utility that’s separate from the region’s larger energy conglomerates, and linemen had been working around the clock since Saturday to restore power, one neighborhood at a time. Other Western Massachusetts communities — from urban centers like Springfield to little burgs like Monson, where another of Jenn’s sisters lives, and which had been ravaged by a tornado just five months earlier — would be offline for more than a week.

We still had no power as Monday evening fell, but no way was our son missing out on trick-or-treating. So Jenn grabbed a battery-powered lantern and walked him around our circle, looking for signs of life in each window. Even neighbors who could offer no candy were polite, and while he didn’t collect many treats, he was happy to make the effort. There was a certain appeal to treading the moonlit street, hunting and gathering for sustenance like the tribes of old, had they been after Twizzlers and SweeTarts, rather than roots, berries, and the occasional rabbit.

It remains, in fact, a fondly remembered Halloween. After the two of them returned with their meager haul, we again sat in our candlelit living room, four dogs at our feet, and told stories. I probably shared the one about the mid-’70s blackout in Bridgeport, Connecticut, when the lights went out just after Mom served a meal with a side of cooked spinach. I liked it, as opposed to raw, leafy spinach (blecch), so for years afterward, when Mom said we were having spinach with dinner, I’d ask, “the kind from the blackout?”

We were chilly, even under sweatshirts and throw blankets, as we shared memories and relaxed with our dog pack, but I remember just enjoying the time together — the bond of family, the peace of warm thoughts, on an odd, cold Halloween night.

“The television, blind and dumb. The window beckons me; I come.

I see animals and trees. I catch a glimpse of mystery.

Progress, though, will soon return to steal that which I have learned

and ridicule the candle’s flame. Tomorrow, all will be the same.”

And then, at 8:30, almost 48 hours to the minute after we lost power, the lights flickered back on, and the boiler in the basement clicked to life. As my wife shared on Facebook soon after, “Power back on!!! Go Chicopee Electric, we love you!” The following weekend, we were out raking leaves and twigs when one of the utility’s trucks lumbered by. We, and others working in their yards, turned to the road and loudly applauded.

After our son went to bed, the house slowly filling with heat, we stayed up and watched the Chiefs outlast the Chargers in overtime, 23-20. I’d have to go shopping the next day to replace everything from the fridge that I had bagged and tossed out earlier in the evening, but overall, life was good — much better, in fact, than for all the folks in our region who would have to live with the cold and the oppressive nighttime darkness for another week.

It had been a charming, if slightly bone-chilling, Halloween. But we’re modern folks. Give me light. Give me heat. Give me Monday night football.

Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 2.20.42 PMJoe Bednar is a business and healthcare writer from Chicopee. At Slurrify, his latest personal blog, he’s counting down his 200 favorite albums and telling his unexciting life story out of order

The Fearsome Five: 2014’s Weird October Food Post

https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3658/3487077505_04838691f7_z.jpg?zz=1

Kanikko, the world’s crunchiest baby sacrifice.

Every year, I compile a list of Octobery foods, be they weird and wacky or healthful and harvested. Each item may not be brand new, but has somehow infiltrated the headlines, and made its way to my Google-searching fingers. I’ve shied away from the Halloween-ized foods that otherwise aren’t so different from their year-round counterparts, like orange donuts and boo-ritos. Below, though, you’ll find some foodie finds, fast-food anomalies, and slightly scary snacks culled from various places … often Japan. Read on!

1. According to The National Restaurant Association, ‘forbidden rice’ is an emerging foodie trend, along with emu eggs and black garlic. If blue tortilla chips, then why not purple rice? It may not thrill your kids when served up as a starch but it’s popping up in fine-dining restaurants all over the world.

2. Kanikko, seen above, is one of Japan’s many, many weird contributions to the global food scene. This tasty snack combines seafood and sweets in candied baby crabs, which are described as sweet, salty and “majorly crunchy.”

3. In keeping with the Japanese theme, the island-nation’s fast food chains never disappoint this time of year. McDonald’s was first out of the gate with its Halloween menu item this season, an orange and black hamburger that’s not stomach-turning at all.

It’s colored with squid ink and orange chipotle sauce, and joins the Ghostly Camembert Chicken Filet Sandwich (Camembert?) and the Pumpkin Oreo McFlurry, which needs to come stateside ASAP.

4. For the entertainer in all of us, I picked this horrifying meat and cheese platter that will leave visions of Hellraiser dancing in your head.

https://i2.wp.com/farm4.static.flickr.com/3012/3051600312_7fd5ccaae7_m.jpg

These are called Meatheads and are being created by slightly-off event planners everywhere… a quick image search will haunt your dreams for days.

Surprisingly, though, they’re likely to be a crowd-pleaser featuring cold cuts, cheese, olives, and hard-boiled eggs … the latter two ingredients make up the unnerving eyeballs. One website even suggests that turkey and prosciutto work best as the undead flesh.

5. As someone who used to live on Mulberry Street — the actual Mulberry Street that inspired the book — I’m a fan of all things Seuss.

greencake

This year, HuffPo identified 13 foods that were, or could’ve been, inspired by Dr. Seuss himself including and beyond Green Eggs and Ham. My choice for this list is number eight — spinach cake, which actually looks great. (See what I did there?)

The Ministry of Happiness

Have a happy day my friends

HeyHelloHigh | Cannabis Lifestyle for Modern Women

Interviews, Recipes, Pro-Tips, and more for the Modern Stoner Woman.

Columbia County Current

Dedicated to all things in and around Columbia County, New York.

Victory Force Options Training, Inc.

LE use of force, leadership, and supervisory topics and discussions.

Why Are the Birds Here?

It must be the food. Maybe the wine. Is it me?

Bucket List Publications

Indulge- Travel, Adventure, & New Experiences

Run Out of the Box

Run Coaching for Strong Women

Nichole's Adventures

telling my story, one adventure at a time

Inevitably Keely

The almost daily postings on life and all it's intricacies as I live it.

Patti Welsh

Writing the Past

Studio Mothers: Life & Art

Meet your creative goals

When I Survey . . .

ruminations, reviews, recipes and rants

%d bloggers like this: