Halloween from Boston to Salem and Beyond by Jonathan Bornstein (one of Exotic Flowers in Boston's top clients).
It’s October, and if the sight since late August of shelves stuffed with blinking plastic skulls, fake cobwebs and creaking miniature coffins didn’t clue you in, then allow me to spoil it for ya – Halloween is here ! A fan favorite for those who love a good holiday, Hallow’s Eve is a delight for your sweet tooth as well as a paradise for your inner dress up doll. It’s also vastly underrated for one other thing – community.
Halloween is perhaps the only time of year when my family gets to spend a few moments reconnecting with all of our neighbors in Newton. Busy lives lead us to run around with blinders on, and amazingly, it takes an event where everyone dresses up like fiends and fairies to create a scenario where, we can reconnect and exchange a pleasantry or two before extending some goodwill to tide us all over til next year.
That’s not to say that our more colorful and somewhat less altruistic sides don’t get aired out as well. I’m not referring to that kid or two well past the accepted trick or treat age that shows up on your front doorstep around 9pm with no costume and a brown paper grocery bag to claim the last of your bulk bought candy. I’m actually conjuring up the cherished memory of my late father who loved to negotiate the terms this time of year for taking my sister and I out to trick or treat. The number of houses and streets we got to visit each year was directly tethered to the percentage of candy we had to surrender to Dad’s considerable sweet tooth. Fortunately for me and lil’ sis, he loved the stuff that we were just as happy to throw out, like Bit O’ Honeys, Mary Janes, and Good n Plenty’s.
I now bemusedly put forth the same deal each year to my kids, and fortunately for them, the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree. My sweet tooth hangs out in a completely different area code than theirs. They love sugary pixie sticks, Nerds and “sucker style” ring pops. So what then, might you ask, are my top five trick or treats? Can’t narrow it down to five, but I can do seven -
1) Milk Duds – love the gooey sticky taste of caramel that blends with the chocolate coating after just a couple of chews.
2) Charleston Chew – seeing a pattern here? Sweet vanilla taffy blending with a chocolate coating – even better when put in the freezer first!
3) Snow Caps – the rich, sweet flavor of dark chocolate mixed with the sugary crunch and texture of the tiny white pellet coating? Just the right amount of crunch, and sublimely delicious.
4) Anything Reese’s – you put your chocolate in my peanut butter, indeed!
5) Mike and Ike’s – love the chewy, fruity sweet nature of these guys, and that includes their lesser known cousins, “Hot Tamales”.
6) Junior Mints – creamy, chewy mint covered in pure chocolate? Done and done. Extra credit for their Seinfeldian cred.
7) Dots! – LOOOOOVE Dots. Sweet, chewy, and always a surprise which flavor comes out of the box. Especially when the yellow ones emerge, cause I don’t like ’em, and they are promptly returned to their cardboard home to await new ownership.
Honorable mention goes to Milky Ways and Three Musketeers, because the experience gets enhanced when they're placed in the freezer, and I love the word “nougat”.
So now that you know what I sneak out of my kids plastic pumpkins, tell me, what treats don’t make it back to your kitchen for sorting?
- Jon Bornstein
photo credits: Jon Bornstein
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