… smell my feet …
… gimme something good to eat!”
The phrase above was the cry uttered by my childhood friends and me, circa late 50s/early 60s, as we crowded together “begging” at homeowners’ doors along Sandmere Place, in Oakville, Ontario, where I spent my formative years.
The alternative call for candy was “shell out, shell out – the witches are out!”
I may have used the latter phrase, though I don’t recall donning a witch costume for Halloween. I vaguely remember those hard plastic masks accompanied by flimsy, satiny-type costumes, usually worn over heavy coats as climates were chilly, if not frosty, in Southeast Ontario by October 31st. I remember wearing costumes for Casper the Friendly Ghost and Snow White. One year I went as Little Red Riding Hood and it rained buckets – my red satin cape stained my new Winter coat and I dragged the plastic tote bag along the gravel road, creating a massive hole in the bottom, resulting in NO goodies that year.
Once I reached school age, our teachers passed out UNICEF collection canisters in the hope that our Halloween begging for candy also resulted in those same neighbors dropping coins into the canister to benefit the United National International Children’s Emergency Fund, which organization helped provide emergency aid to children around the world.
Mom stayed home to pass out candy on our porch. As a youngster I went out trick-or-treating with my father. We always stayed in the ‘hood as it was a large circular street. The houses were fairly close together, but had lots of property out front, so Dad would wait at the end of each driveway and I’d run up to each house.
Sometimes I’d see my neighborhood pals and we’d peer into one another’s plastic tote bags to check out the “loot” such as Smarties (similar to M&Ms), bags of Maltesers (malted milk balls) and yummy-tasting Coffee Crisp or Kit Kat bars. These delicious wafer bars always made the “cut” though Mackintosh’s Toffee, sticky and guaranteed to pull out your baby teeth, was always apprehended by the “Candy Police” a/k/a Mom.
Some neighbors were purists who handed out Jersey Milk chocolate bars. In Canada, we call them “chocolate bars” not “candy bars” and Jersey Milks are milk chocolate, devoid of nuts or fruit and comparable to the American Hershey’s candy bar. Jersey Milk also came in bite-sized swirly kisses called Jersey Buds. Jersey Milk anything were keepers. There were popcorn balls and apples too. Mom went through my “haul” and any apples were set aside for apple pie if there were enough. Those sticky peanut butter kisses encased in orange or black waxy wrappers were tossed out, as were candy cigarettes. My parents were strict about eating candy, so I got to pick a few treats that night and the rest were put away to be doled out in small increments.
Through the years, I’ve lamented that no photos were taken of me on Halloween, despite the fact my parents documented me posing at every holiday and tons of times in between holidays. Because I was an only child, many images fill the family albums, ranging from black-and-white to Kodachrome, thanks to Mom’s Baby Brownie, then Dad’s Leica 35mm camera respectively.
Ahh – not all memories were captured on film, but those memories in my head, just like the goodies, hearken back to sweeter and simpler times.
Flash forward more than a few decades.
As I wrote in Monday’s post “Autumn: Amble on!” I went to Council Point Park on October 17th to walk and also celebrate Halloween with my furry pals. This is an annual event for us and I am not sure who enjoys it more – them or me. However, I usually buy a few net bags of mini pumpkins, wait for the trees to turn vibrant shades, then take the camera for some (hopefully) cute shots. Well, I hesitated placing the pumpkins and peanuts along the Park perimeter path because of the hawks circling above, plus Mother Nature’s timeline for leaf loveliness was all off. So, I made trail mix instead and didn’t hear any complaints.
So, sit back and enjoy a little frivolity with my furry friends – the world needs to have more fun and frivolity these days and this gives me an opportunity to fulfill the “WHIMSY” portion of my blog’s title. At the end of the photos you’ll find a special greeting.
You don’t have to be a sleuth to know squirrels do have a sweet tooth.
I made up my trail mix and you may recall I treated the squirrels and birds to some trail mix last Winter and they loved it. So, I gathered my ingredients and made two batches – one for them, one for me. I added almonds and pistachios to their trail mix. I find whole almonds too hard for my teeth so I use slivered almonds for me instead of whole almonds.
Once at the Park I scattered half the mother lode of goodies under the Safe Haven Tree where they could nibble to their heart’s content while the weeping branches help protect them from predators. But the huge leaves made it too dark beneath the tree.
Under the pavilion are picnic tables. In the early Fall of 2020 the City removed the tables from all parks due to COVID protocol. I hope they keep them there all Winter this year as I’ve fed the squirrels and birds here throughout the Winter in the past. I laid everything out on the picnic table.
At this time, a pair of Mallards (that you met in my last post) saw me and wandered up the Ecorse Creek banks, but they had no space to fly over/up, so they turned around and left (with much disdain for me – trust me). I already had the camera out, so let the watch party begin!
Gotta give the goodies the sniff test first!
Sometimes you feel like a nut …
… sometimes you don’t.
Candy is dandy, but nuts rule! Here’s a Halloween greeting for you – just click here.
[M&M snack pack image f/Pinterest]