The Garden City Telegram
10/26/2013
SOUTHWEST LIFE

Even without the kids, Halloween spirit remains

Halloween isn't what it used to be in our house.

That's what happens when your kids get older.

It used to take the whole month of October for Claire and Alek to decide, undecide and decide again what they were going to dress up as to trick or treat.

My favorite costume of theirs was the year my wife dressed them up like M&M's.

Claire also was a witch, and Alek spent too many Halloweens for me to remember as Jason from the Halloween movies.

For years, he put on the mask and carried around this plastic knife with fake blood inside it that moved up and down depending on how you held it.

He was the one who really got into the spirit of the day.

We used to drive to Omaha every year and go through the stores that specialized in costumes.

I can't count how many hours we spent in these stores, only to return home either with something new he decided at the last minute not to wear or not find anything he liked. Then on Halloween, he would grab the mask and fake knife and hit the streets.

As they got older, they barely bothered with costumes, but still went door to door in search of candy.

Costumes changed over the years. When I was kid, super heroes were king of the streets for boys, and girls were princesses.

I remember going as Casper the Friendly Ghost one year, Superman, and my favorite, Batman.

The worst Halloweens were when it was cold. Mom made me wear a coat over my costume.

How could anyone marvel at my costume Mom bought from Woolworth's if I had to wear a winter coat?

I also remember those plastic masks that I sweated under. I hated those things. The rubber band in the back that held the mask in place would slide up and down, and I could barely see out of the eye holes.

Of course, the day was all about the candy.

My candy — the bad stuff, which was anything that wasn't chocolate — lasted until Christmas when my mom finally tossed it out.

I protested despite the fact I hadn't eaten any of it in weeks.

This year, Claire is back in costume, heading to a Halloween party as Minnie Mouse.

I don't think Alek is interested anymore, even if I could find that mask and fake knife.

But despite the fact we don't have kids to take out anymore, my wife and I still get in the spirit. We like to decorate the house, and enjoy the little trick or treaters who stop by.

We are ready to go, and hopefully will have a lot of ghosts and goblins stop by.

But I'll have to make sure I keep some candy in reserve. I haven't outgrown the candy.

Patrick Murphy, of Humphrey, Neb., is a former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.