When I was a child my pillowcase would hold rice crispy squares, popcorn balls, and dreaded homemade candied apples. There was a bonfire in the backyard, and my Mom handed out her homemade cookies. Then there was the year we had to start looking through the bags and throwing out anything home made from someone we didn't know.
And who do we know in our neighbourhoods today? When I was under ten our family knew most of the families that made up our block, we knew which houses to stay away from, and which houses we could go to if our bike tire went flat. I am often surprised in my new neighbourhood that people who have lived here for five or ten years say they don't really know many of the neighbours.
I mentioned to the few people I know that I would like to create a homemade Halloween. There was a lukewarm reception. People are busy. They don’t bake from scratch anymore. And why bother, because who would accept a home baked treat – is it safe? That’s a good question to put to everything in my sons Halloween bag this year: sugar, chemicals, additives, food colouring, milk ingredients. What is all this crap anyway? And it comes wrapped in some kind of plastic - which is made of what?
So when I did have an encouraging neighbour agree to hand out something homemade, my son and I were happy to walk the block to her house; I'd rather take my chances with the butter, flour, sugar concoctions my neighbours cook up than what a factory puts together. Change is hard, but it has to start somewhere. For us, we started with one neighbour and added one jar of Dill Pickles to the mix. And let me tell you, my son is pretty excited about Pickles too.