Site of the Day:

Hallowe’en seems to have become the biggest secular money-fest of our times. (Of course, historically, it’s not secular, but religious, but that was way back in the day.) I mean, for Thanksgining you might want to buy a couple of gourds and a turkey, but you don’t have to erect faux tombstones in the front yard, hang strings of teeny pumpkin lights, and head to a party store to buy a cheesy costume that will transform you into a hot dental assistant or a pirate wench.

The one chink I can find in my idol Martha Stewart’s radiation – proof armor is that she’s infatuated with Hallowe’en. Hey, we’ve carved a pumpkin after Goya. I sewed elaborate costumes for Honor — OMG, that dinosaur! I have it around somewhere. We found out, accidentally, that the ethereal last act of “Der Rosenkavalier” scares kiddies out of their wits when you open the door, so I hear it at least once a year. I’m attaching the Hallowe’en pic of me and Ian from, well, a zombie’s lifetime ago.

OK, the Hallowe’en theme is the long way round to , a respected fact-checking site. I was reminiscing about the terrific treats we got handed into our pillowcases, way back then. They were homemade: fudge and divine popcorn balls and Rice Krispie squares, and yes, apples.  Did you know that there’s not one documented case of poisoned Hallowe’en candy? Not one? That’s why we’re stuck buying wrapped mini  Mars bars.

Really. Check this out: has a great Urban Legends topic, Popular Scams, and you can type in something like:” Did Earl Butz really say that awful thing?” (He did.) The Mikkelsens, the couple who run it, are researchers by profession, and you can smell how much they love their work.

Well, if Univac hadn’t been a mere glimmer in a mathematician’s eye when I was a kiddie, if the internet had been around back in the days of the family Olds station wagon, if Snopes had been around …  kids would be scarfing down the popcorn balls and fudge their friends Mom’s  made. Oh! How could I have forgotten Mrs. Bellefeiulle’s brownies ?



Filed under Food, History, Holidays, Site of the Day

8 responses to “Site of the Day:

  1. I’ve been meaning to go and check out some things on that site.

    And we’re scarcely a generation-gap away from the homemade goodies—all the aforementioned, and divinity in little saran-and-ribbon bags, and apples dipped in a red-red “candy apple” coating that begins by measuring out sugar and Karo syrup— and ends with handfuls of “redhots” dropped in to melt before the dipping.

    I miss those days—Caro just bought a case of popcorn balls, each in a bright, commercial wrapping. I was so happy to be able to add them to our TorT table, I’d already planned the basket they’d be spilling out of. Then I bit into one, and there’s so much little thin husk in there you have to spend all your time going “pthuh pthuh.”

    Poo. I want homemade FUDGE. I love your memories. And mine.

  2. Patty

    I remember well the religious holiday, going to a Catholic school, we had ‘Halloween parties’ every year until my 4th grade, but we could only come to school as a saint! I still tell the story… My mother borrowed a ‘habit’ from her nun colleague to copy the pattern and make me an identical outfit, headress and all, as I chose to be St. Theresa, she even sewed the roses encircling my head, she sewed beautifully. I was 9 then, that was the last year for school parties… I believe there was way to much interpretation put into most of the saints costumes. Memories are wonderful.

  3. Alex

    I adore snopes (and the Mikkelsens). Another Halloween myth is that your child stands a greater chance of being abducted. The fact is that there’s no uptick in stranger abductions on Halloween.

    BTW, a dentist down the street from me is offering $1 a pound for kids’ Halloween candies, November 1 only. If only I had saved all the candy corn from my childhood…

    Time to check the batteries on my remote-controlled tarantulas! (Seriously:

    • Alex, I agree. Geez, every sweet little trick or treater has parents beaming from the sidewalk, and the later waves of teens can, trust me, take care of themselves.

      And every guy on my Christmas list is getting a remote-controlled tarantula.

  4. kim shook

    Oh, how I want a remote controlled tarantula!!

    And I do decorate the crap out of every holiday that exists – the youngest person in my house is 26 and it looks like I run a daycare center.

    I adore and HOW I wish that EVERYONE who has my email address would use it. I was actually almost rude to my own MOTHER the other day when she forwarded the “ACLU is trying to get rid of cross headstones in military cemetaries” message. sigh.

  5. Sarah B

    Mrs. Rovai, I must say that I was a bit surprised when a neighbor (that I don’t know) asked if the girls could have homemade cookies in their treat bags. She had wrapped the cookies. I said yes!

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