Thursday, October 25, 2007

The simple, sweet life

Our family moved to Greenhills when I was 5 years old, and because our village is one of those which indulge in trick-or-treat festivities, growing up I regarded Halloween as 1 of the highlights of the year, second only to Christmas. To be honest, it wasn't the thrill of dressing up that I looked forward to (as those of you who know me can imagine, I wasn't a very adventurous child, and the most creative costume I ever wore was comprised of a chef's hat, an apron, and a spatula for a prop), and lord knows I was always too chicken to enter the horror booth put up inside our subdivision's gym. The best thing about Halloween was always the candy. Not so much the eating of it (although I did and still do have an insatiable sweet tooth), not even the collecting of it (although I did enjoy walking around our village and getting to enter some of the nice houses), but it was the HAVING of it that really gave me a kick. I derived immense satisfaction looking into a bag full of colorful confectionery and knowing it was all mine, mine, mine. My favorites, which I eagerly picked out of the pile as soon as I got home to take inventory of my loot, were Goya or Ricoa chocolates in silver foil, pastel-colored Mini Fruits (except the grape ones), strawberry Lipps, unbranded hard candies that came in orange and pineapple and had pictures of oranges and pineapples on their respective wrappers, Tootsie Rolls, small packets of Nips, and of course, a childhood icon-- Peter's Butterball.

As I got too old for trick-or-treating, I graduated to distributing candy to kids who came to our door. As far back as I can remember, instead of just giving out loose pieces of candy as most houses do, we've always prepared goodie bags filled with staple sweets: a lollipop, a Jellyace cup, 2 kinds of hard candy, and a piece of Bazooka bubblegum.
Sometimes we'd throw in a Benson's eclair or a lemon Halls or a Mentos. Putting together these goodie bags was almost as fun as trick-or-treating itself: my sibs and I would sit around the kitchen table and form an assembly line, each assigned 2 kinds of candy, passing around the ice/sandwich bags and filling them with sweets. We'd while away an entire afternoon or evening doing just that, no TV or radio blaring in the background or anything. The candy and the company were enough.

In recent years, as we got even older, and busier attending to matters of consequence, the tradition of getting together to assemble the goodie bags has been lost. Now the task usually falls to my sister alone, or aided by our maids. Last night though, I walked into our living room and saw Hanks working on this year's goodie bags in front of the TV, and suddenly hit by a wave of nostalgia (and the smell of bubblegum), I volunteered to help. There's just something about candy that brings out the kid in me, or at least makes me miss the kid I was. And it turned out, it was still a pleasant way to pass the evening (though we had to substitute our brother with Anderson Cooper and Jeff Corwin), and it was a hoot reminiscing with Hanks about Halloweens past and certain kinds of candy that aren't sold anymore. AND the best part was, after packing all 200 bags, we had 3 Flat Tops left over, and they were mine, mine, mine. :)


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