Halloween is just around the corner
Since mid September, two 2 yards times 3 yards times 1.5 yards (1.82 m X 2.74 m X 1.37 m) boxes annoy every mom when they enter with their kids the local grocery store. The kids’ nagging for candies competes with the boo of the skeleton that rises out of a coffin and sinks back in again. Six weeks of scary shopping terror for any mom or granny before, and at least two after Halloween until all the candies are sold.
Just the boxes scare the heck out of me just thinking of our first Halloween after moving from Goldstream to College.
I throw in 10 bags of these large multiple sorts of wrapped twist, Butterfinger, Mars, Milky Way and who knows what candies. Sounds a lot for being prepared for trick and treating from 5:30 pm (17:30) to 10 pm (22:00)? No, we only allow taking two candies per kid. No, we don’t live close to an orphan house. Sometimes, my husband or I have even to drive back to the grocery store for more! The first Halloween my husband made the trip to the grocery store three times!
In Alaska, most neighborhoods have yards of several acres (1 acre = 4046.86 m2). Goldstream was such a neighborhood. We had to walk at least 5 minutes to the house of our nearest neighbors. This means in such neighborhoods there are long ways to go from one house to the other. There are also no sidewalks, i.e. you have to walk on the dirt road or sled dog paths.
At 0F (-18oC) in 5 inch (12.5 cm) of snow, it is not fun to walk these distances with kids from five to 14 in costumes and at least two to three dogs. I mentioned already, Alaskans don’t have a dog, they have dogs! Of course, the parent would have to schlep the treat bags after a while too. 😉
On Halloween, parents who live in these neighborhoods, drive their kids to College, South Fairbanks, or the University Avenue/Market Street area. In these neighborhoods, the yards are small like a towel, at least for Interior Alaska conditions, i.e. less than an acre. The parents sit in their cars as taxi drivers for their kids driving them from door to door. The kids jump out of the car, go to the house door, ring the bell and/or knock on the door, and yell trick or treat when you open. Like wolverines put their paws into their victims, the kids’ mittens go into the candy bowl when you say “two for each.”
Most of the kids run back to the idling car without even having said thank you and/or looked at your face. Once they enter the car, the parent drives them 30 to 40 yards to your neighbor’s house and the scene repeats. Count yourself lucky!
When the way to the car is longer than the shortcut across your property, they just run across. If they stumble their parents yell at you.
Sometimes there are five to six cars in the street idling. The entire neighborhood smells like Denver rush hour minus the ozone. At this time a year, inversions build up in the evening and the car exhaust stays in the neighborhood. There are smoke plumes sneaking and creeping ghostly around houses. Together with the carved pumpkins that are lightened and some big man-size spiders on the white snow the neighborhood looks quite spooky. Especially, when the green aurora dances in the sky, the moon is glimpsing out behind tall black spruce trees, and a raven, duck or owl is flying by.
Once in a while, probably four to five times only, you see a face you know. One of the neighbors going trick and treating with their kids, while the spouse hands out treats to traveling strangers’ kids. Kids, they have never seen before and will not see again until next year on Halloween. That’s what I call a spooky night.
Do you go trick or treating? Do you limit your trick and treating to your own neighborhood? How many candies do you hand out over the entire evening?
If you liked the post tweet In Alaska, kids travel by car for trick and treating!
Halloween is just around the corner. If you still need a cheap outfit for trick and treating you may be interested in this post on shopping your own closet for a Halloween costume.
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Photos: G. Kramm
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