Probably because Halloween is my birthday, my brother, aka ‘bama Bob, asked if I ever shared my “birthday loot” with him and little brother, Rick. Not only does his question have a subtle inference of un-brotherly selfishness, it also challenged my recollection of what Trick-or-Treat was like 65 years ago.
Let me set the stage for you. Bob is 5 years younger than me and Rick would probably have been dressed as a toddler with rabbit ears the first time all three of us went out into the neighborhood to Trick-or-Treat. Though I cannot recall for certain, I am quite certain mom went with us on that first brothers-three Halloween evening.
I’m sure you can imagine that adding Little Rickie to the trek around the neighborhood slowed us down. Mom emphatically alerted Bob and me; “No, you two cannot take off. We are going as a family this year.”
“Really, mom?”, I foolishly countered. “Dad’s home watching Douglas Edward’s with the News (and Timex watches taking a lickin’ but keep on tickin’). Besides, a walrus moves faster than Rickie. Can’t you carry him?” I guess you know that ill-timed question was met with an unmistakable glare: Do you want to go home right now?
Fortunately, Rick was far too young to understand the stamina required to get a bountiful harvest of treats. He tired quickly. Besides, his treat-container was a plastic pumpkin. You couldn’t even fit a popcorn ball into it. Bobby’s bag was the recipient of all goodies that would not fit into the pumpkin. New rule of Halloween—Never question mom about family inclusive issues.
When Rickie’s pumpkin overflowed with more sugar than he should ingest before Thanksgiving, Bob and I were released from our brotherhood tethers. Neither he nor I insisted on togetherness for our sprints to the best houses. You see, we each had a separate “Halloween Brotherhood”.
We didn’t go around the neighborhood as gangs of kids. Nevertheless, our separate clans of school chums would loudly shout, in passing, of where the Jackpot houses were. Why waste time on porches to get good-for-you fruits, Safe-T-Pops or sticky popcorn balls. Crackerjacks with a prize inside was a high priority stop for me. Nobody was yelling where you could get Hershey Kisses. Hershey Bars…oh, yeah! Houses giving Chicklets, mini-packs of CandyCorn and Dum-Dums were to be skipped to efficiently scramble across lawns to haul in Double-Bubble, jaw breakers and All-day suckers.
Now, to address my brother’s opening question of candy distribution at home. In the interest of “brotherhood”…and Dad, who now was more interested in treats than the newspaper, we would dump the contents of our rope-handled grocery bags on the floor then kneel to paw through the pickings.
Safety Patrol mom searched diligently for “home-made” stuff and opened packaging. “Yes, mother, I know the box of Good&Plenty is open, but I did it. They were good but not really plenty.” Of course mom would answer, “Then Bob can have that one”, pointing to a second box that obviously came from my bag. We didn’t dare fight over the treats or the entire lot would be confiscated. However, I’m not saying we exactly shared equally.
Lest you have already forgotten, it was MY birthday. So, if I happened to dump out anything with nuts or peanut butter, don’t think for a minute I was buying into my mom’s ‘share and share alike’. Oh, sure, I might agree to “one for one” trading. “Here Bob, you can have my 3 boxes of MilkDuds and 2 big lollipops for those 5 measly little Reese’s cups.” He was old enough to do one-for-one math, but too young to do good negotiations. Besides at his age, sugar is sugar.
I cannot say that every smidgen of sweetness was distributed. I seem to remember a dishpan quite full of all the non-prioritized goodies. For quite some time into November, it sat out for easy pickings. Who got most of the loot out of that pan? Let’s just say my hands were bigger than either Bob’s or Rick’s.