In the past I have gone all out, what with the carved Jack-o-Lanterns, the aroma of roasted pumpkin seeds, the scary lighting and mood music, and even the occasional application of outlandish makeup and a wry costume. In years gone by, living in urban areas like Washington, DC and Salt Lake City, we've often run out of candy and resorted to emptying our cupboards of staples, but here in Maine, nobody comes. Ours is simply not a trick-or-treat kind of neighborhood; lacking street lights, the dark lanes and long driveways are less than inviting. Instead, the excited young celebrants ambush the picturesque village half a mile away, where the houses are clustered together and the residents are prone to hanging ghosts fashioned from bedsheets in their trees.
And so we are left with bowls and bags of colorfully packaged toxins in fun sizes with names like Twix and Kix, Snickers and Whoppers, Twizzlers and the like. These are usually consumed over a period of weeks by members of our family who shall remain nameless, accounting for the slow slide into the massive weight gain that is the hallmark of the holiday season. Refusing to repeat that mistake, I have started at the front door. This year there will be no exterior pumpkins, although there are a couple of mums out there because, besides being pretty, flowers are not fattening.