is Halloween. I think I’m going to dress as myself, as an off-duty,
university sweats-dressed, model. I think I’d like to complete my get-up
with my slouchy knitted pom pom beanie. The weather certainly calls for
You could have been a model, my father said. I scoffed. You could have
modeled- you were perfect: flawless skin, a lean, athletic and yet
Now I can pretend to be a model since I’m not her anymore. At least not
I was always a witch. Out of competitiveness in the academic arena for as long as I could remember, I was, and continue to be, power hungry. I indulged in the concept of supernatural witchcraft. To exercise power by using intellectually crafted language via spells, a form of writing, was right up my alley. I thought that the idea of using chemistry to create potions and tonics was so stunningly cerebral. And the popular Steven Spielberg produced television series, Charmed, appealed to my young girl hood. I lived vicariously through those on-screen characters who were so fashionable. They were three sisters and I only knew of brothers.
I went into a Long Island Target last week with my parents after
convincing them to join me in shedding off these past years of stress,
anxiety, and constant obsessing. That which is life. I wanted to embrace
the autumnal spirit spearheaded by Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte.
I purposely prefaced “Target” with “Long Island” because the geographic
location of a franchise is directly correlated to the inventory they
carry. Keep this in mind.
In years past, my mother would voluntarily escort a large group of my
friends from the neighborhood to go trick-or-treating.
There was the guy across the street and a little down the way who gave
out King-sized candy bars. There were the South Indian Christians,
parents to Freddy and Bobby (cousins) who bonded with my two male
cousins and brother, a couple of houses down. Their house was directly
across the street from The King.
Their parents would open their own respective doors since they lived in
separate spaces within a two-family house. Without fail, both sets of
parents were dressed in sleepwear. The mothers were dressed in
floor-length Victorian-like nightgowns. The fathers wore pajama sets:
V-neck button down shirt over wide-leg pants. They always gave us money-
mostly change and sometimes bills.
There was the house around the block that although a tad bit creepy,
housed a warm-hearted, now faceless and gender-less person who handed out snack-sized chips of all kinds.
was the house that gave out the candy-apples in either a caramel-nut
combo or a jelly-coconut flaked duo, and then there were the houses that
gave out the most economical treats: the minis.
We knew who were most likely to be our proxy parents, those money
conscious job-going adults who empathized with kids enough to hand out a
notch above those 25-cent machine hard candies and to buy brand-named
favorites like Skittles, m&ms, Hershey’s, Whoppers, and Nestle
We were privy to those house dwellers who were handing out old-school
brands to the candies for which our generation lost the taste for:
tootsie rolls (both the lollipops and chewy bow-tie wrapped
caramel-cocoa concoctions), and Mary Jane peanut brittle.
We knew who felt bored enough to not mind being bothered with
trick-or-treaters but who were also dismal failures in our assessment,
surpassing mediocrity because they opted for those hard-as-a-rock yet
colorful candies, including those off-holiday sugary hearts neatly lined
up in a row so reminiscent of the chemical chains that make up their
composition. These were the bulk candies, those that filled up our bags
and that our parents disposed of first.
And then there were the incompetent: those house-sitters who dared to
sprinkle loose, not packaged candy corn and other such items made for
social consumption indoors. Even prior to the anthrax scare of the early
2000s, these treats were not disposed of by parents, but instead
littered in the streets immediately after being received.
the leaf-strewn blocks in my village- believe it or not, where I live
is a village by definition, became a makeshift Candy Land game board.
Back in Target:
I had to forgo hiking, farm gallivanting, apple picking, and pumpkin
consuming (self-imposed), due to my anorexia.
said, I was on a mission to part-take in the fall activity I could
actually participate in since it was home-based- doling out treats to
Always predisposed to creativity - let’s just say I favored Barney over
Sesame Street - I wanted to part take in a Do-It-Yourself project. I
wanted to make goodie bags with anything but your run of the mill
treats. I wanted to put healthy snacks in them, not crap.
In Target, there was an entire aisle dedicated to healthy and organic
treats to hand out for Halloween, including balanced fats, protein, and
carb combinations housed into little bunny rabbits and goldfish shapes.
They were, of course, three times the price of the adjacent 4 aisles
that had your go-to Halloween favorites.
As I wandered into the lone organic aisle, a recovering anorexic, my
parents’ speechless balking was palpable.
Parsimonious person that I am, I thought, “I already have so many
expenses what with eminent weddings, grad school loans, a new house and I
don’t have children yet. Why should I spend money on the few and far
between trick-or-treaters? Why should I push my ethos on anyone else?”
So I settled for pretzel packages.
My father then said, “Kids like chocolate.”
I had a flashback of myself, separating the solid chocolate from the rest of the candy.
My mother said, “They’re just going to throw the pretzels out and it will be a waste of money anyway.”
I saw myself throwing away all the treats I did not care for. She had a point and I did not want our money spent for naught.
bought a large bag of favorite chocolate items. This bag was not as
expensive as Annie’s Organic Bunnies, but was the priciest among the
regular confectionery options: Cookies in Cream Hershey’s white
chocolate, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, a regular Hershey’s bar, and
Whoppers. This selection epitomized a good Halloween when I was growing
This year we kept our door open and the lights on for a
full two hours before closing them and locking up as we used to. Only
some children came by: Less than 10 said, “Trick or Treat,” and even
less were dressed up.
We have a metal mixing bowl filled with
the leftover chocolate at the foot of our stairs. I dare not venture
down those stairs lest more of the cold air that seeps from the gap
underneath the door touches my skin. I dare not venture down those
stairs, far too early to venture out before I embark on the first day of
my first job of my life, of my career.
I am one flight up and I think it best to keep climbing.