The Extra Treats Trick
Mrs. Anderson knew exactly what to expect when she opened the door – kids dressed like they had crawled out of the cemetery or jumped from a slow-moving freight train. Generations of kids have made her home a must visit. After all, she baked the best cookies in town and it was Trick or Treat night.
She’d fake a gasp or let out a light scream for Mrs. Anderson was an old pro at the game. She’d done it a thousand times before. But for the kids — especially the younger ones — it was serious stuff. What if she didn’t like the trick? What if she had given out all her cookies?
Yep, the 1950s were just like today — the kids couldn’t wait to put on their costumes and go out begging for treats. The treats were a little different then, but the game plan was about the same.
This took place in a time long before treats such as little candy bars and the like. Most treats consisted of an orange or an apple, maybe a popcorn ball, or occasionally a stick of juicy fruit gum. We didn’t have to worry about razor blades in our candy, but the majority of treats weren’t that exciting.
Mrs. Anderson’s cookies were different. They not only had frosting, but were also laced with little pieces of candy. They tasted great and looked great.
Mrs. Anderson was one of those grownups who somehow knew how to behave around kids. Even though she hadn’t had any of her own, she realized that if she treated kids with respect the chances are they would treat her the same way.
One thing’s for sure. She would never give out a treat without receiving a trick in return. That’s why we kids would polish up our jokes or practice our songs — so we would please her.
With that in mind, Slick and I decided to go all out one Halloween just to please her. We had reached the age where it was about time to hang up our ghost outfits and pass our Trick or Treat expertise on to the next generation.
Sometime in mid-September we started putting our heads together to come up with a trick to end all tricks. One that would have people talking about it years into the future.
We talked Mr. Riis, the local funeral director, into the use of a little old wooden coffin he had out in his garage. Trick or Treat night we wore skeleton masks with dark clothing. We hauled the coffin to Mrs. Anderson’s front porch then squeezed into it. Slick’s little sister banged on the door.
When Mrs. Anderson opened the door we each popped up and arose as if we were spirits coming back from the tomb.
For the first time in many, many Halloweens Mrs. Anderson didn’t have to fake a gasp or a scream. It came naturally.
It was a Trick or Treat night to remember. Not only did she give us each a cookie, she insisted we take seconds.
What a way to bow out!
Ed Rood is the former publisher of the Tri-County Times.