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Fall is my favorite season even if it’s the beginning of the holiday madness. My fellow RU faculty member Robin Covington posted a blurb on her Facebook page about Nordstrom’s policy of no holiday decorations in their stores until November 27th. I wish other retailers would adhere to the same rule. Seeing Halloween decorations in the same aisle with Christmas ornaments is like hunting for Easter eggs on the Fourth of July.

I’m trying not to think about the ramp up to the holidays. Instead, I’m obsessing about Halloween preparations…should I carve the pumpkin or drill it like I did last year? I’m also hosting a low-key dinner for a group of friends who are dropping by to share the fun.

The last time I dressed up and went trick-or-treating, a strange man chased my friend and I into a church. That was a truly scary Halloween. Other than that, I’ve got wondeful memories of Halloween. 

Our neighbor used to make carmel apples for all the kids on our street. One year, I sat in her kitchen and unwrapped all of the carmel squares. It was worth it! My mom would scrape out the pumpkin and toast the seeds while my dad carved it. The smell of toasting pumpkin seeds and the heady scent of candy were things I looked forward to all year.

Halloween is a big thing in our neighborhood. Neighbors decorate the outside of their homes with mummies, coffins, bats and spiderwebs. Some turn their front lawns into graveyards. I buy a boatload of candy for the three-hundred plus kids that descend on our street. One of our neighbors hands out one-dollar bills. He closes the door and turns out the light once he’s reached his one-hundred-dollar limit. Smart. I spend more than that every year because I believe in handing out good candy.

I have my reasons—The Nut Lady.

When I first started trick-or-treating, people handed out full-size candy bars. I remember one man who sat on his porch with a fifty-gallon trash can filled to the brim with candy bars. Using a mixing bowl, he’d scoop out a bowlful of candy and dump it in our pillowcases. A dentist on the next block gave us Oral-B toothbrushes. One house handed out shiny pennies while another offered little boxes of raisins. Guess which house was my favorite?

And then there was the “Nut Lady”. Wearing a housecoat, slippers and a frown, she’d drop two walnuts in the shell into my bag and shut the door in my face. I went to her house every year just to see if she’d give something different. Walnuts. More walnuts.

It’s refreshing to see kids excited about something other than the latest video game. I love seeing their creative homemade costumes, the hesitant, almost embarrassed smiles as their parents remind them to say thank you. It makes me want to be a kid again.

As dusk settles on Halloween night, I’ll feel the flutter of anticipation from Halloweens past as I wait for the first trick-or-treaters.  

Do you have Halloween traditions? What was your all-time favorite Halloween costume or memory?

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I’d like to give a special shout out to my CP Carrie Spencer. Carrie finaled in the single title category of the Hot Prospects contest. Good luck in the finals, Carrie!

And fellow RU staffer Robin Covington took first place in the single title category of the Molly contest with a request for a full! Congratulations, Robin!

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