My introduction to the concept of trick-or-treating was so bland and uneventful that it has forever soiled my view of the holiday.
Never wanting to venture too far from home, the first door we knocked on belonged to Miss Nellie Johnson, an elderly spinster who lived across the street of my birth apartment on Chicago's far north side.
Playing dress up has never been my thing. For me, Cosplay is defined as watching Ghost Dad, but mom sprung for a deluxe Ben Cooper Bugs Bunny outfit and I didn't have the heart not to model it for her.
What we all wouldn't give for photographic evidence of 4-year-old Scooter wearing a flame retardant facial mask, bunny ears made out of clothes hangers (dad's addition to the ensemble), and a ball of cotton stuck to my ass.
This was long before confectionery came in the bite-size, individual wrapped packaging we know today. Hell, I started trick-or-treating long before Halloween apples came complete with razor blades and/or psilocybin. One was fortunate to find a candy bar beneath the loose candy corn at the bottom of their treat sack.
Nelly was a rich, eccentric dame, prone to parading up and down Thorndale Avenue in the middle of summer wearing a full-length mink coat. There was more lipstick on the end of her cigarette than came in a tube. She owned a giant gray Cadillac that could accommodate 20 in the backseat alone. It seldom left its spot in front of her apartment. That's how we knew she was home that Halloween night.
"TRICK-OR-TREAT" I screamed when Nel opened her door. It was a line that, much to my parent's disdain, had been well rehearsed. Two ceramic bowls sat atop a table in her foyer. Too small to see their content, it wasn't until Nellie brought them closer that I discovered my "treats."
Bowl #1 contained popcorn. Not popcorn balls or bags of popcorn, just popcorn. I was instructed to toss two handfuls in my bag. Bowl #2 was filled with pennies, one handful of which I was allowed to throw in the bag to give the popcorn a copper flavor.
For those who have a hallowed place in their hearts for All Hallows' Eve, here's a frightful gathering of ephemera that will hopefully stir a few terrifying memories and bring a smile to your face.