One year ago today, I was still in school, working at a different job, and worrying about the health of my then-ailing Grandma.
Today, I am graduated and staring down student loans, working a new-ish job, and still mourning the loss of my last grandparent 3 months ago. I was able to work from home today so I haven’t left the house, haven’t seen anyone in costumes, nor have I handed out any candy.
But all that is fine by me. Yoshi and I enjoyed a quiet night in and I have my own Halloween tradition here on my blog and that is to recycle this Halloween story… but this year, with some revisions.
Earlier this year, I took part in a special Mother’s Day performance at the Pacific Asia Museum called â€œChinese American Stories: My Motherâ€ and read this story on-stage. Since it was for Mother’s Day, I re-wrote some of the story to focus a little bit more about my mother and less on Halloween.
So though it’s the same story as always, it’s a “new and improved version,” dedicated to my Mom.
To anyone who has read it in previous years, I hope youâ€™ll read it again with fresh eyes. To any first timers, I hope you enjoy.
When my brother and I were kids, we learned about most American traditions for the first time either on television or in school. Since our parents had come from Taiwan to the United States only a couple of years before I was born, they pretty much learned about American holidays at the same time my brother and I did… and that was usually when I came home from school talking about something I’d learned in class.
Of all the various American holidays we’d learned about, Halloween was especially exciting because my Mom had fun with â€œdressing us up.â€ Although she claimed that she didnâ€™t know how to sew, she always came up with costumes for us… like the year my brother was a cowboy with a little red cowboy hat and matching vest, and I was an Indian squaw complete with feathers in my hair. Having costumes meant that we were sufficiently prepared to go trick-or-treating and to come home with a bag full of candy that we weren’t actually allowed to eat, since it would â€œrot our teeth out of our mouths.â€
My mother has a background in medicine, having gone to medical school in Japan and then becoming a pharmacist in Taiwan. Although she liked getting us in costumes and taking us trick-or-treating, she never allowed us to eat the candy we brought home because it was full of sugar and artificial flavors and colors. Since we werenâ€™t allowed to eat the candy, the strategy was to take us out early & to give away the candy that we had received earlier in the evening. We didnâ€™t mind having our candy passed back out again; Mom had scared us about the dangers of sugary treats and really, the candy wasn’t important to us… we just loved the costumes and going door-to-door.
One year, my Mom informed us that our cousins were planning to come to our neighborhood so we could all go trick-or-treating together. We would be going at later time than our usual “early shift.” Since our cousins actually kept their candy, Mom decided that rather than re-distributing the candy my brother and I got via our front door, instead, our lucky cousins would go home with a double-bounty of candy, theirs AND ours! That also meant that Mom would actually have to prepare treats in advance for Dad to pass out while we were trick-or-treating.
And since I was starting to have neighbor kids in the same classes with me, I started becoming concerned about exactly what candy was being given away at our front door. I still remember the day Mom returned from the supermarket, proudly announcing that she had purchased â€œthe BEST trick-or-treat goodiesâ€ for the neighborhood kids. My brother and I excitedly went through the grocery bags but we didnâ€™t find any Smarties, M&Ms, little Snickers bars, or even candy corn.
â€œMom?” I asked, combing through the groceries. “Where are the treats?â€
Continue reading ‘â€œTrick-or-Treat Goodies (our way)â€ – A slight revision for year five’