Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.
One of the really fun things ‘bout tellin’ stories from the EastWing is I’ve been doing ‘em long enough that some folks are starting to remember the good ones, (which are few and far between) and from time to time, they’ll ask that I tell ‘em again. The Halloween Story from 2008 falls into such a category. And so once again I’m gona talk ‘bout Halloween in Downtown Toto in 1955, when the goblins reined, as the Army of the Toto Volunteers marched into the darkness of the night to conduct the serious business of trick or treating on Halloween in downtown Toto.
The biggest holiday, bar none, in Downtown Toto, when I’s a kid, was Halloween. Now ya had the other important stuff like New Years Day, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, but none of ‘em could match up to Halloween. It was a holiday designed completely for little hillbilly boys in their middle tens and elevens.
It was a time that tried boys souls, a time to test the courage, to face the fears of the nighttime darkness, knowing things were out there and not knowing what or where. A time to see whether the testosterone had yet started to work, or if ya even had any. A time to be both horrified and happy in the same heartbeat. A time to scare little sisters. A time to face the boo of the darkness. A time to step into the shadow of the valley, a time to fear. A time to march, to prowl the darkness in the company of the band of little brothers. we were the Toto Volunteers, we were proud, we were one. We still are.
The Halloween Bounty seemed limitless, so much so that we, the Toto Volunteers, never made any attempt to control its access. We could have, we chose not to. Toto could well have become the model Trick or Treat Community for the National Standard of Trick or Treat, had we choose to make it so. We could have, we chose not to.
The reason for such actions on the part of the Volunteers is as valid today as when the War Council discussed that very issue. There was a part, within the ranks of the Volunteers, who wanted to do to Halloween what we had been so successful in our summer campaign. Just the summer past, we had collected more pop bottles then most of the army thought existed in the world. We’d won the Pop Bottle Wars of Toto.
The issue of the Halloween Candy was brought to the War Council not by inexperienced people with no knowledge of war, but from people seasoned by fire on the front lines of the Pop Bottle Wars. People who were even as old as 11 and one was 12, and one even held the rank of sergeant.
Now in the Toto Volunteers, we had a little different ranking system than the regular army. Our system was more simple. I got to be the General. There were three sergeants, and everybody else got to be privates. That way we didn’t have to spend a lot of time trying to figure out who was in charge. Besides, we didn’t have different uniforms so it was a lot easier to just remember a few to salute, otherwise everybody would be saluting each other all day long for nothing.
The Halloween Options, as they would become know to the Volunteers, were quite simple, two different choices. The first choice being the Toto Volunteers go Trick or Treating the night before the real Halloween and then go again the next night, that way everybody gets twice as much stuff. The second choice would be for the Volunteers would charge everybody Trick or Treating in Toto, and not a member of the Volunteers, a nickel. It was just two weeks till Halloween and the War Council wanted to make a decision on the spot, but I told ‘em the decision was too important, it’d have to wait for a while. I had to think this one out right.
One of the things I learned by being the General of the Toto Volunteers was when I didn’t know what to do, I could always ask my dad. I’d act like I was just a little kid asking a dumb question, not like a general seeking consultation on an issue of possible war. When I talked to my dad about such important matters we usually done our man to boy talks on the porch swing, even in late October man to boy talks worked better in the swing on Sunday Evenings just ‘bout dark.
As we sat swinging I said “Did ya ever go trick or treating?” My dad said “Yep” “Did ya ever go trick or treating the day before Halloween?” My dad said “Nope” I said “why not?” My dad said “Did ya ever have a birthday party a day before your birthday? Could ya have the 4th of July Picnic the day before? What would happen to Christmas if ya didn’t have the 25th of December, not the 24th but the 25th?” I was starting to see my dad’s point of view on this matter of trick or treating a day early, as we swung together on the front porch in the crisp autumn air just nine days before Halloween.
I said “Ya think a person could make somebody pay a nickel to go trick or treating” My dad said “Not in Toto, cause everybody that tricks or treats in Toto don’t have any money to start with, and besides who’d be dumb enough to even try to get somebody to pay to go trick or treating?” I didn’t say nothing. One of the good things about talking with my dad in that swing was, he didn’t make me say anything if I didn’t want to, and right then I sure didn’t want to. So we just swung on the porch, me and my dad, and didn’t say anything for a long time, till we got done swinging.
So there is was. Ya can’t go the night before ‘cause that’s dumb, and nobody’s got any money and if ya even ask someone to pay that’s dumb too. My dad conveyed a great deal of wisdom from the confines of that swing on the front porch in Downtown Toto. He made my job of being general a lot easier on more than one occasion. Guess that’s the kinda stuff ya know when ya get to be a Baptist Preacher, like my dad.
Well, I had my answers now I only had to deal with the Toto Volunteers. I spent most of that night trying to figure out a way to get the War Council on my side. I knew what I had to do but wanted them to tell me, not me tell them. Somewhere in the darkness, about the time today turned into tomorrow and became yesterday, I finally figured a way to present my views to the Council. The next day I called an after school meeting of the War Council of the Toto Volunteers. We met on my front porch and I sat in the same swing as when I had talked to my dad just one day before.
Now one of the downside products of victory on the battle field is the overwhelming desire to repeat the same feat over and over again. I was not about to let that happen to the Toto Volunteers. As soon as everybody was present I presented my plan. The plan was simple. I couldn’t choose which one I liked the best so we would do ‘em both.
But for the trick or treat the night before Halloween we’d all have to have get our moms to sign a letter saying we could go out after dark just in case someone wanted to know why we were there at their house a night early for trick or treat, so we could tell ‘em our moms said we could come trick or treating early. Also everyone had to ask their mom if she thought it would be ok to charge people for trick or treating in Toto.
I had printed out a letter to give every volunteer. Because I ran the mimeograph machine at California Township School I ran off 14 copies of the letter, on my lunch hour. I had printed it on a stencil and it looked really professional, and most every word was spelled ok. As the volunteers read the letter, ya could still smell the mimeograph ink, it was that blue kind and it had its own smell, ya couldn’t describe it, ya could just smell it. I could tell by their looks that they were gona have a hard time getting their moms to sign that letter. I knew for sure I wouldn’t ask my mom to sign the letter. I’d be afraid to even show my mom that letter.
One kid said “my mom’ll kill me if she sees this letter, I’m not gona take it home”. He brought his letter back and reached it to me saying “let’s just go regular trick or treating”. Some of the others thought we could still do both options. My faith was in the letter they took home.
The next morning at the bus stop not a single volunteer who took the letter home wanted to talk about it. One kid said “I might not even want to go trick or treating this year, I don’t know if I do or not. I’ll just have to wait till Halloween and see”. The plan was working.
Two days later the War Council of the Toto Volunteers made a decision to do regular trick or treating in Toto and to make sure nobody would ever do anything except regular trick or treating in Toto forever and ever in the future. We, the Toto Volunteers, took a solemn oath to forever protect the unrestrained right to trick or treat in Toto Indiana on Halloween without interference from anybody forever and ever. That right to trick or treat in Toto has been protected to this very day.
And then came the politicians, regulating trick or treat hours. I think it was a republican thing first, probably too damn tight to buy candy for little kids. Then the democrats jumped on the band wagon, probably with a bribe of some sort from the republicans. A pox on both their houses, to even think ya can regulate Halloween.
Next thing ya gona hear is some smart ass in Washington will propose to make Halloween a Federal Holiday and place on the last Monday in October, in order to bring it in line with the other fake Monday Federal Holidays. It wouldn’t surprise me if Obama tries to move Easter to the day after. Easter Monday doesn’t have a good sound to it, but one less work day for the democrats. We now may need both an Easter and Halloween Czar. Two Czars, ‘cause that jobs just too big for one Czar.
Now the towns announce the time to go trick or treating. Trick or treating at 4:00 PM is like kissing your sister at high noon in a public park, it’s just not that much fun. The question that comes to mind is what ya gona do if some little monster tricks or treats before or after the set deadlines?
If ya shoot ‘em all ya get the guilty. Hey Sophia!!! OH MY GOD ! Sophia’s dressed up like a democrat!
The fall season has kicked in to high gear on this last Sunday of October, 2011, tomorrow’s Halloween. We’ve so enjoyed your company in the EastWing this evening, thank you for coming by.
This time tomorrow as the shades of nighttime wrap around the EastWing, goblins, large and small, will be marching in demanding stuff like Candy Corn, Milk Duds in those little yellow boxes, Pop Corn Balls rolled up in Saran Wrap, Cracker Jacks, Jelly Beans and Milky Ways, not the regular ones, the little tinny kind, ‘bout half the size of your index finger. Little candy bars. Babe Ruth’s, Snickers, Tootsie Rolls, Hershey’s, bite size Peanut Butter Cups, and Peppermint Patties.
Halloween, ya gotta love it. Sophia dressed up like a democrat!!! Damn!!
Stay safe in Afghanistan.
From the East Wing Trick or Treating with the Toto Volunteers, The Cat & The Democrats, The Little Tinny Candy Bars of Halloween.
I wish you well,