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Ghosts of my Halloween past, present and future

Image by Toa Heftiba

Halloween past was full of mystery and excitement. Every October, I would get goosebumps upon hearing the creepy music, seeing all of the morbid decorations and watching scary movies. 🎃⚰️👻 I had nightmares for days after telling ghost stories during sleepovers with my friends.🕯📚 I trembled in suspense on the way to haunted houses imagining what type of monsters were lying in wait.👹😨🤡

The question on everyone’s mind leading up to Halloween night is what are you going to be this year? I lived for the thrill of shopping for the chosen outfit or being creative with a few things from around the house. For example, I was a dead nerd in fourth grade complete with suspenders, hiked up shorts, powdered face and glasses with a band aid between the eyes.🤓🧟‍♂️ We even got to wear our costumes to school! I couldn’t wait to get there and see my classmate’s attire. 🧛‍♀️🧝‍♀️🦹‍♂️🧙‍♀️ It was acceptable back then to bring toy guns or swords if you wanted to be a cowboy, pirate or a superhero. 

Then it came time for the main event! My comrades and I would strategically plan our route to houses with reputations for having the best candy or that had been really generous in the past. It was so fun to run amok with other kids, dressed in disguise and hopped up on sugar. I felt over the moon seeing yards decked out with carved pumpkins lighting the pathway, spiderwebs adorning bushes and ghosts decorating trees like Christmas ornaments. 🎃👻🌲

If a porch light was on, that signaled that you were free to knock but you never really knew what could be lurking behind each door.🗝🚪Was the person passing out treats going to be nice or scary? Would they have your favorite candy or something lame like peanut butter kisses?🤮 Was there some creature hiding in the bushes waiting to frighten unsuspecting trick or treaters? The unknown was all part of the thrill. 

As I grew older, Halloween took on a new form. My siblings and I would stay up late to watch Jason, Freddy and Michael Myers movies after our parents went to bed.🤫 When it was no longer cool to dress up, I might have participated in a few harmless pranks around the neighborhood instead of trick or treating. Once I reached driving age, I visited a graveyard or two on Hallow’s eve with friends. Some very brave souls would venture out to the super scary haunted houses but not this ghoul!😨🤦‍♀️👎

In college, I attended costume parties and enjoyed a few BOOzy cocktails with my fellow doppelgängers. We hazily sang in unison while listening to classic 80’s songs like “Thriller” and “Ghostbusters.” There were no rules as far as attire went. You could dress as clever, risqué, terrifying, trendy or traditional as you wanted. Grown up Halloween had it’s perks, but just wasn’t quite as enchanting as it was in childhood.👩‍🔬👨‍🏭👩‍🚒👨‍🚀👨‍⚖️

Halloween present is a completely different experience from yesteryear thanks to modern technology. You can download scary movies instead of renting them.📼 The advent of Redbox provides cheap, easy access to the latest thriller. You can DVR classic horror films when they come on cable TV. Netflix affords you the opportunity to binge watch episodes of Stranger Things and The Walking Dead. Halloween music can be streamed for free with a subscription to Pandora.🎧 You can shop for costumes online from the comfort of your own home.💳👨‍💻🛋 Candy can be purchased in bulk on Amazon and delivered right to your front door. Halloween pictures can be captured on your smartphone, edited and printed immediately. 📸🎞📱💻

Perhaps the biggest change in Halloween rituals has been the transition from trick to trunk or treating. Instead of going door to door throughout various neighborhoods to source candy, you go car to car in a designated parking lot. I imagine that this setting is easier to monitor and appeals to parents wanting to provide a safer environment for their kids. As a relatively new parent living in today’s times, I can certainly understand that. However, to me this comes with a trade off. There’s less room for the element of surprise that was so quintessential to my Halloween past. 🏡😱😮🚙 

Albeit, unexpected violence in our society can create a hypervigilant effect of one looking around the corner for the boogeyman, especially when in crowds. In spite of all that, I think it’s important to try our best to keep spirits up and continue to celebrate life. I, for one, will channel my brave inner child and resolve not to let any fear of monsters scare me away from all of the fun to be had! 🦸‍♂️✊🦹‍♀️🥳🎃

Halloween future is on the horizon. The proverbial torch has been passed and I am now in charge of the candy. 🚓🙋‍♀️ I plan the costume and put out the eerie decorations. Very soon, I will be making decisions about what movies are too mature or scary for my child. As a card carrying member of the fun police, I will manage bedtime and closely monitor any candy stashing.🕵️‍♂️🔦🍭🛏 I look forward to the goodies like when my daughter picks out her own costume and favorite candy from the store.🧚‍♀️🎭🤹‍♀️ I can’t wait to start our own Halloween traditions when she gets a little older such as curling up on the couch and watching one of my favorite movies, “Beetlejuice!” 💛📽🍿 

At this moment, we are residing in a country that doesn’t recognize Halloween.😳😭 There is no inundation of plastic pumpkins, costumes or five pound bags of candy on the shelves at the local store. We got our little pumpkin a Captain America cape a few weeks back at a local fair. It wouldn’t be my first choice for a girl but it will do in a pinch. Plus, she can play with it afterwards so we will get our pesos worth out of it. 💷👍 

This year, I will make candy instead of buying it. They have a fine selection of chocolate here in Argentina. I researched recipes in lieu of available ingredients and decided on candy bark. All you have to do is melt chocolate, spread it onto a surface and add desired toppings to make your concoction colorful and tasty. See below for my simple recipe. Who knows what will be brewing for our family next year? 🤷‍♀️🧹However, with a little chocolate and imagination, I will be sure to invoke the spirit of Halloween!✌️🧡🍫

Trix or treat candy bark 

You will need: 3 meltable bars of good quality chocolate, 1/4 cup honey roasted peanuts, 1/2 cup of Trix cereal, 1/4 cup crushed Lays potato chips 

To prepare: Break the chocolate into small pieces and place in a glass bowl. Microwave for 30 second intervals until chocolate is smooth, stirring in between. Spoon melted chocolate over large tray or waxed paper. Distribute the cereal, peanuts and chips evenly over chocolate. Let cool. It should easily tear apart into jagged pieces. Enjoy! 

Note: I normally use pretzel sticks in candy bark but the store didn’t have any. I used peanuts and chips that I had on hand for some salty, crunch to contrast with the sweetness of the chocolate and cereal. I picked the orange and purple pieces of Trix out of the box to honor Halloween. 🥳💜🧡

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Mood Ring Kitchen

I’m a self teaching home cook and aspiring foodie entrepreneur. I enjoy coming up with creative ways to prepare flavorful food such as snacks, desserts and everything in between. Cooking is a way for me to challenge myself and satisfy curiosities about different ingredients.

The hope is to produce something thoughtful, memorable or every once in a while maybe even wonderful. I enjoy following my “gut” and exploring new recipes that can be comforting, exciting and nourishing. Above all else, I enjoy exploring the emotions surrounding food and writing about those experiences. 😝👩‍🍳👩‍💻

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