Wednesday, October 31, 2012
How it Was Done
Back in the day, I used to go trick or treating in the complex of apartments in Philadelphia where we lived between 2nd and 6th grade: four buildings, 20 floors each, 10 apartments on each floor. We did not mess around. We came to collect. We did not even take the elevator. That's just how serious we were. We wore what we always wore: hippie, house-painter, bum, witch, or a combo of two. Nothing fancy, nothing that could impede our collections. One year I wore my regular Sunday dress with a big rubber skeleton mask and I was sweating so much I started seeing stars. My brother Pete was so hopped up and jittery, he left me in the stairwell to cool off on my own. I don't remember if we ever said Trick or Treat or Thank you, but all interaction was kept to a minimum. No eye contact. No conversation. If Mrs. Gottlieb started asking you about school or how your mother was and you didn't just duck your head or turn on your heel, you got left. Ties were cut, we no longer knew you, you got left. Period.
We used pillowcases. Bags could rip and did not hold as much. By the time we came home they were full. Pete dumped his on the floor to have a look at his treasure. His eyes would get wide and he could never quite believe his good fortune. I would just walk back to my room and tuck it in the way back of my closet. A full pillow case. No one ever inspected back then. If there were razor blades, battery-acid soaked chocolate, no one cared. It was all part of it. The main thing was: we did it. Probably not the full 800 apartments, but close enough. Candy every day until Easter. No one had to know. This never happened.