I am the Scrooge of Halloween. I begin to feel a cloak of dread towards the end of September when shops turn to the dark side and bury their merchandise under stacks of hay or hide it behind hanging ceiling webs crawling with hairy spiders.

Friends who seem more or less normal during the rest of the year put fake tombstones in their front yards and yank the guts from pumpkins in order to cut and gouge intricate shapes into thick rinds. Candles shimmer and subtly shine from scary, shifty sculpted eyes. And there are bones, skulls, and skinless bodies all over the place!

Of course, there is the issue of costumes and the accompanying pressure of being unique among a cast of limited characters, and the proverbial question of whether to stay at home to hand out treats, take the kids around the block or get the heck out-of-town. If you do leave town, will you even have a house to come home to?

I certainly would not like to be visited by the ghost of Halloween past, but if I were, I bet we would find that as a child I was badly frightened by a group of masked, evil neighborhood boys. Could those “Freddies” and vampires have been my brothers? I wonder. They probably scared me to death and took all of my candy. We may also discover that I got a bag full of raisins, toothbrushes and church flyers instead of treats; and treats as we all know, are the purpose of the whole ordeal.

Ah, candy……….. the one positive thing about Halloween, until one remembers cranky, sugar-infused kids with stomach aches and the silent creeping up and up of the bathroom scales. TERRIFYING!