Tom Stangl

Just a little over a week to the scariest night of the year. No, not Election Night, silly. Halloween!

This year is perfect for trick or treaters of all ages — Halloween is on a Saturday!

No worrying about getting home and school or work the next day. Indulge in candy or more adult fare with no worries about immediate consequences.

October 31 was one of the few times of the year where children could get free candy, no questions asked. Halloween on a Friday or Saturday night as a child was the best. We knew we had more time to forage for candy in neighborhoods far from home. We usually used a pillow case or paper shopping bag for trick or treating and there was plenty of room in those for a great deal of candy.

If the bag got too heavy or unstable, we would go home to dump it out into a roasting pan or mixing bowl and immediately head back out to collect more candy.

As a kid who trick or treated in the late 1960s and early 1970s, my parents didn’t need to worry about kidnapping, x-raying treats or run in with Satan worshippers. It was understood we would be out for hours getting as much candy as we could haul.

In fact, it was pretty much standard operating procedure for us to be out of the house and out from under our mother’s feet for as long as possible. In the town where I grew up, they blew the fire whistle at noon, 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. so we had a built-in alarm clock to make sure we were home for lunch and supper.

Of course in those days, we turned the clocks back before Halloween so it was dark when we began trick or treating. I still believe it was wrong to delay the return of Standard Time until after Halloween. Much of the fun for me as a child was imagining what lurked in the bushes as I went from door to door, begging for candy.

I recalled there were several homes that had an adult hiding in the shadows, ready to leap out and terrify trick or treaters. I remember one year when an adult got struck by a frightened teen. I think the adult took the rest of the night off.

It’s hard to tell what trick or treating will look like this year. In many ways, it is a pandemic friendly activity. It is done outdoors and for the most part away from other people. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says participating in one-way trick-or-treating where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go while continuing to social distance (such as at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard) is considered moderately safe.

I can recall coming up to a house that did this one year on Halloween, leaving some treats on the porch. The danger in this arrangement (especially if no one is home) is being anyone but the first person to arrive. My friends and I took much of the small amount of candy that had been left on the porch before quickly departing into the dark.

As we get closer to Halloween, let’s think of ways to keep the fun and keep safe as well.

As always, I welcome your comments. You can reach me by email at, telephone 715-268-8101 or write me at P.O. Box 424, Amery, WI, 54001.

Thanks for reading I’ll keep in touch. Feel free to do the same.

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