As a first-time homeowner in 1973, I was apprehensive about my first Halloween on the other side of the doorway. After all, I didn’t want my house egged or my trees toilet-papered. Anticipating a crowd of Trick-or-Treaters, I purchased a case of my favorite full-size candy bars. You know, just in case there were any left. We had a total of three costumed Trick or Treaters. I gained eight pounds, but at least I didn’t get “tricked.”
The next year, now that I knew I had to provide only a handful of treats, I opted to bake something special, and decided on rolled, decorated butter cookies. I mixed the dough, chilled it, rolled it out, cut it, baked it, iced it in bright orange frosting and then drew Jack-o-Lantern faces with chocolate icing piped from a bag. It took all day and made a mess of my kitchen, but the cookies earned oohs and ahhs from the few neighbor children who bothered to traipse down our long, dark, gravel driveway.
Anticipating a somewhat larger crowd the next year, I doubled the recipe. I nearly had to take out a second mortgage to purchase the ingredients. They took a week of intensive, backbreaking labor to make, but I had enough to share platesful with neighbors and friends and still had plenty left for home. I ate so many of them that my skin took on an orange glow and my next physical revealed that a large percentage of my blood was composed of Land-o-Lakes brand unsalted butter.
Every Halloween brought more Trick-or-Treaters. Apparently the word had gotten out, and the numbers swelled into the hundreds. Neighbors who’d moved out of state and whose children had grown still showed up at my door asking, “Hey, do you still make those homemade butter cookies?”
Neighbor children brought their classmates and their cousins from Milwaukee. They asked, “Could I have a couple extra for my mom and dad? They always dig through my bag and steal mine.”
The large number of senior citizens who showed up (they claimed to be kids dressed in old-people costumes, but I detected a distinct aroma of BenGay Ointment and they were wearing orthopedic shoes) made me wonder if tour buses on the way to Graceland were dropping them off at the corner.
Enough was enough. One year I decided that I wouldn’t make the cookies. They’d get store-bought candy and like it or lump it. That Halloween the news quickly got around that the cookie factory had gone out of business. The younger Trick-or-Treaters stood on my porch in their costumes and cried. Older kids made vague threats and warned in menacing voices, “My mom and dad are not going to like this!”
It took days to clean all the broken eggs off the siding, and many hours to get all the toilet paper out of the trees. The good news is, this was during the toilet paper shortage and I was able to use a lot of it after I’d picked out the leaves and the slivers of bark.
My plan this year is to turn out all the lights and tie a large angry-looking dog to the front porch pillar. The truth is Brutus the dog is a sweetheart, probably because I promised to ice his doggie treat in orange frosting and draw a Jack-o-Lantern on it if he’d keep everybody else away.
2 thoughts on “The Halloween Kitchen is Closed”
We find it impossible to predict how many kids will show up at Halloween. The most we’ve ever had was about 50 I think. Sometimes it’s around 12 to 15.
Truthfully, any more we get none, since we are in a rural area, and there are few kids in the area. But my story is real. When I was baking the cookies, we got lots and lots of Trick or Treaters. All the quotes I wrote about are genuine. It got kind of out of control.
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