I haven’t been trick or treating in at least 15 years and I can still remember all the ‘best’ houses that were in my neighbourhood. There was the house 5 doors down that had the full on sound effects, the shrieking back track that terrified you all the way up to the door where a zombie would jump up from the hedges and scare the beejesus out of me. I remember walking out of the way so that we could hit the townhouses on Victoria & Woodlawn because less walking in between houses meant maximizing the amount of candy we could get in our limited time. When I spent a Halloween up north I recall being irritated that I had to wear a snowsuit under my costume but quickly got over my anger when I reached the top of Hillcrest drive. The owner of the house owned the magazine distribution company in town and he would fill his entrance with stacks of Archie comics and a note that said ‘help yourself’. For this voracious reader, it was a eye-widening heaven that I have never forgotten. As a true testament to my geekdom, I even dumped out a quantity of candy so I would have room for more books.
Out of all the houses I remember, there is always one that stands out in my mind. It had no elaborate decor, no gravestones or even carved pumpkins. Just a light on, some halloween music playing from inside the door and a suburban family on the other side of the glass. But they will always be the greatest house of all in my mind because they gave out FULL SIZE CANDY BARS. Not weird off-brand stuff either. Legit, brand name whole packs of smarties, butterfingers galore and entire coffee crisps that I swear were as big as my arm. It was the coolest house ever and they became legendary in my neighbourhood as the house you just had to get to.
I miss that childlike wonder of Halloween. Last week I was in the Boston area and went up to Salem for the day to check out the scene there and was pleasantly surprised at how much even adults still embraced the Halloween spirit. It’s always such a bummer to grow out of childhood activities; I still remember the awkward year when you know you’re too old to go out trick or treating but go anyways because even though you’re emotionally immature you know that this is what people call growing up and you can’t bear to say goodbye to all this fun. So in an attempt to get myself into the Halloween frame of mind, I’ve been listening to my favorite Halloween-appropriate music. The first song I’ll be sharing with you today is the best version of the classic ‘I put a spell on you’. Joss Stone puts a sultry, sexy spin on the ballad and her sandpaper voice gives it a fresh sound that makes it seem applicable for a Halloween party or even a striptease. The second is the timeless ‘Ballroom Blitz’ by Sweet that will probably make you think of Wayne’s World a little, but should also make you realize that now that we’re adults Halloween can actually be better because we’re old enough to party in our costumes. If you lost the Halloween spirit a little this year too, let me offer you some advice. Don’t worry about your decorations or even your costume. Put these songs on your stereo, get off your wallet, spend a couple extra bucks and buy the king-size candy bars this year and kids will remember it for the rest of their lives.