As today is the day for the kids all over the place to become beggars and seek out candy treats, I decided to think back to when I went trick-or-treating and what I remember as some of my favorites:
Home Made Delights:
Although not common in any manner now-a-days, I recall the following as amongst the most delightful things I ever received as a kid for Halloween:
Mrs. Klisch's home made, caramel dipped apples. I think what made her apples especially amazing was that she added a significant dose of cinnamon and cloves to her melted caramel prior to dipping the apples on a stick. It added a depth of richness to this amazing treat that I still crave.
Mrs. Krajkowolski's candied and/or caramel pop-corn balls. Popcorn balls were not made by many folks in my neighborhood. I think they were considered a pain-in-the-posterior by most to make, and only the delightful Mrs. Krajkowolski made them in any reliable time-line. They were amazing, sweet, yet crunchy and salty all at once. She was far ahead of her time in magically being able to create salty caramel confections.
Store Bought Favorites:
Reeses Peanut Butter Cups - quintessentially my very favorite candy almost all my life.
Necco Wafers - a much more common Halloween treat back in my time, and one that I have grown more and more fond of to this day. I still eat them often as a treat.
Butterfingers - the amazingly strange texture and wonderful peanut butter taste are strong suits.
One time for Halloween, a very flush (and slightly inebriated) Mr. Greuber passed out beautiful bottles of his home-made root beer to all of us kids. It was so amazing and vivid.
Mr.Krajkowolski once saw me (to my chagrin at the time, as I must have been nine) in the woods near my home as a kid, when I was smoking "my" pipe and some pipe tobacco I had "borrowed" from my father. This occurred was when I was just a kid, well in advance of when my father knew of my pipe smoking. Mr. Krajkowolski was a pipe smoker himself, and he and my father often traded tobaccos, and even bartered pipes, etc. with each other. Even though he spoke English quite well, he had a pronounced and very interesting (Polish, of course) accent. Mr. Krajkowolski was a butcher in our town, and, as is often the case for a butcher, he was a big, bearish sort of man. He had a bald head and a broad face and an enormous, walrus moustache. He always seemed very happy and had a broad grin and a look of amusement in his eyes. That one particular Halloween, after I had gotten my wonderful caramel popcorn ball from the Mrs., Mr. Krajkowolski came to the door and dropped a small tin of pleasantly aromatic pipe tobacco into my candy bag and said that I was to give this to my father. And then, before I turned to go, he dropped a smaller, wrapped, bundle of the same pipe tobacco into the sack for me and then winked and nodded at me to get going to the next house. I was shocked, happy, and dumbstruck.
One year, when I was probably 6 or 7, another wonderful neighbor, Mrs. Richter brought to our house, a really beautiful three layer cake (one layer each of vanilla, spice, and chocolate) which she had decorated with heavy layers of frosting that she had shaped into an elaborate spider web. It was (almost) too pretty to eat. But it was actually 30 times better eating it than looking at it.
Store Bought Candy that was NEVER My Favorite:
Baby Ruth - To me, the Baby Ruth always represented the candy with the least appeal. It showed such promise... who the hell wouldn't like chocolate, peanuts, nougat, and caramel? But the reality, is that the flavors of each of those ingredients was and is very bland to this day. The chocolate tastes only minimally like chocolate, the nougat has a stale quality, the peanuts are only average, and the caramel lacks any sort of bite or kick. Even the freshest Baby Ruth always tasted like a stale, old, dried up candy to me.
Tootsie Rolls - These chewy candies are still wildly popular today, but they never held much interest for me. The flavor of the original was rather nebulous and not particularly chocolately. I would always much prefer to eat a caramel square or a a Slo-Poke any day rather than a Tootsie Roll. Tootsie Roll lollipops, by contrast, were very good.