Living in rural America I have to chuckle at all the fuss associated with Halloween.

I can remember going to one of my grandparents’ home as a kid and asking my grandmother how many trick-or-treaters came out to her rural Kansas. She’d smile and say a few of the neighbors would bring by kids and my cousins would stop by to eat homemade goodies. Back then there were quite a few farm families who lived in the country. That definitely dates me.

Grandma lived long enough in her home she started to see the decline in visit by the late 1970s. Only a couple of people would stop by and they were kind neighbors who just wanted to stop by and say hi.

Growing up in town for the most part my brothers and I would run the neighborhoods and stretch out beyond what our folks told us to go to fill our sacks with more candy than we dared eat.

Much like hunting as we got older it was the thrill of going that was actually more exciting than cleaning a bird.

For the most part my parents enjoyed the visits of neighborhood kids in the small towns I grew up in and they shared the laughter of seeing kids in costumes of that era.

Living in Dodge City I don’t get a lot of a Halloween visitors. In fact, last year I had none. I’m not complaining. I’m fortunate to live off the beaten path, which means the neighbors are nice but the decorations are minimal to none and that discourages kids from visiting. It means there is no need for me to buy candy that I should not eat anyway. From my parents I learned the value of buying fruit as a healthy alternative. If no one comes by at leaves more for me.

The kids travel to other streets with prominent cartoon figures in full balloon style and well-lit homes that are inviting to them and their parents. I rarely see little boys dressed as farmers. I occasionally see boys and girls dressed as cowboys and cowgirls and that always makes me smile.

When I was in college Halloween was fun and most people I know who went to college, regardless of age or gender, had many fond memories. Some of the best included stops at taverns where costume contests gave everyone an opportunity to get a discount on a pitcher of beer. With the raising of the drinking age from 18 to 21 it ushered in a different era in the bar scene.

Still, I’m thankful for having been able to enjoy the spirits of the season and the Halloween treats, though for the most part they are memories of my yesterday.

Enjoy your Halloween and enjoy the trick-or-treaters and greet them all with a healthy smile.

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