A Halloween Story

It'd be hard to make the case that my dad was a health food nut. Yes, we avoided sugar cereals. Yes, we tended to cook homemade dinners. Yes, we drank seltzer (often in glass bottles from from the seltzer guy) instead of soda (my friends still give me a hard time, but hey, we were in New York). One year, my dad even traded coffee for Postum. But the fridge was lined with a variety of No-Cal syrups for our seltzer, and my Dad's fondness for the sweets he grew up with - spearmint leaves, chocolate bridge mix, Joyva jelly rings - was legendary.

Halloween provided a special challenge each year. Could my dad happily distribute Kit Kats and Snickers bars to the neighbor kids without feeling guilty about the sugar, chemicals, and fat within? No. But what else could he do?

Two years stand out in my mind as especially memorable. They were both in the mid 1980s, both in a row. The first year, my dad decided to take a stand. Instead of candy bars, he handed out boxes of raisins (no, not Raisinettes, raisins). My brothers and I were appalled. Raisins on Halloween? We might as well have handed out dirty socks or old copies of the Atlantic Monthly! There was no way we were going to answer the door, but it didn't matter much. After the first few kids showed up, word got out quickly. We didn't have too many trick or treaters that year, and when we got a brick through the window a few weeks later, none of my brothers was surprised. So much for taking a stand.

The following year, my dad was down, but not defeated. If raisins didn't work, my father would attempt to buy the love of the neighborhood kids, one quarter at a time. Sure, they might spend the quarters on candy, but they might not. Maybe the kids would buy their own Postum or copies of the Atlantic Monthly instead! The Halloween of the Quarter, as I know it now, was a busy one. The doorbell rang for hours. We must have gone through $40 worth before we turned out the lights and called it a day. There were no bricks through our windows.

Which leads me to this year. At my house, we're going to be handing out candy. I won't necessarily feel great about it, but it'll be okay for now. Next year we'll try something different. But it won't be raisins.

This article was proudly submitted to Food Renegade's Fight Back Friday.