|by Jim Amidon • October 25, 2004|
For those people who have read this column over the years, it comes as no surprise that this time of year brings out the child in me. I was one of those kids who absolutely loved the fall. At my home in Fort Wayne, we played touch football games until dark every night, raked leaves and cleaned gutters on weekends, and planned our trick or treating plans for weeks in advance.
When my oldest brother got his driver’s license, my friends and I paid him to drive us around to the most affluent homes in Fort Wayne’s suburbs, for some reason believing the candy bars would be bigger if we left our own neighborhood.
I’m not sure when I officially retired as a semi-professional trick-or-treater, but I recall that I was probably in high school. Halloween was such an important part of my childhood that I just couldn’t give it up. When I finally did, I took on the role of driver and drove my youngest brother and his friends around the city. In exchange for driving, I got an even 10 percent of the candy haul.
When my daughter, Samantha, was born, I got to relive all of those wonderful fall memories. Among the best is Samantha’s constant indecisiveness when it comes to costumes (and I really do know where she gets this). Samantha and I went out to get her costume last week with the notion that, if we could find one, she’d wear a pumpkin costume.
Four stores later and I found one. I held it up to her and she immediately replied, "No, Daddy. I want to be a ghost."
It’s been the same ritual every year since she was old enough to say, "ghost," "scary witch," or "scarecrow."
And then there was that famous year when she wanted to wear five different costumes, then wouldn’t actually put one on. Fearing she would miss out, my wife and I quickly dressed her as a "Hippie," complete with jeans, tie dye shirt, beads, and a quickly applied temporary tattoo of a rainbow-colored moon. Friends who saw us on the street that year winked and knew we were desperate.
Another constant about our recent trick or treating adventures has been Wabash College. For each of the last four years we’ve spent all of Halloween night circling the Wabash campus.
The Wabash Student Senate will once again spend upwards of $1000 to purchase candy, which will be distributed by students at every fraternity house and dorm. You can easily walk the entire campus in about 40 minutes, even with short-legged, slow-walking goblins in tow. The Wabash students will be ready to host trick or treating from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Some of the fraternities will even produce mini-haunted houses for older kids to enjoy. Scary music will be played, and kids can walk through dark hallways if they like a good fright. For the younger kids, there’s no safer place to be on Halloween than on the Wabash campus.
Don’t be surprised if you see a few of the Wabash students dressed up, too. Samantha sure was last year.
Last year we really didn’t argue about a costume. Sally Kirtley gave Sammie a delightful Dorothy costume straight out of the Wizard of Oz. Sam had her braids and basket, and off we went. All was going fine until we got to Delta Tau Delta, where much to my surprise, the students had a Wizard of Oz theme going.
Sammie thought the Tin Man was cool and the Cowardly Lion pretty neat. But one look at "Dorothy" and my own little Dorothy burst into tears. There, standing in the lobby of the fraternity, was a tall student with a blue-checked dress and the head of a used mop draped over his head.
When we finally got Sammie calmed down, she told us it was like "looking into a mirror, only much scarier!"
All memories and stories aside, we’ve made it a fall tradition to trick or treat at Wabash College. And we hope you will, too.
Jim Amidon is director of public affairs and marketing and secretary of Wabash College. He writes this weekly column for the Crawfordsvile Journal Review