All Hallows’ Greed
by Richard L. Levesque

We were candy banditos,
suburban monsters on the prowl
for sticky sweets. Our code was
simple. Knock on every door between
Congress Street and Huntington Avenue.
Ignore curfews. Challenge dimly lit doorways.
If no one answers, keep knocking. Persistence
usually scored a quarter from the grim old
men and women who shambled like the living dead
within. Sometimes we would get a half-dollar.
But candy was always the goal. The only goal.

So with our $2.98 Collegeville superhero in a
box costumes and trick or treat bags that went
from waist to shoe, we would slink into the night.
No parents. No guardians. Just cheap plastic
skull and jack-o’-lantern flashlights that would
certainly keep us safe under any circumstance.
One hundred small-fisted raps on doors. One
hundred times we’d screech the mystical phrase,
“Trick or treat!” We’d fill those bags to a third
of our weight one fun-size bar at a time, our arms
trembling with fatigue and the inside of our masks
slick with sweat and condensation.

At home, we’d prioritize the loot:
styrofoam-tasting popcorn balls and rock-hard
caramel-covered apples were immediately relegated
to the trash. Hershey bars, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and
Snickers got marked for immediate consumption. All Nestlé Crunch,
Milky Way, and 3 Musketeers were stashed for later. Then
came all the off-brand chocolates with their foil-wrapped likenesses
of famous monsters and their odd flavors. At the end of the chain
were the Jujubes, Dots, and concrete slabs of Bit-O-Honey,
the scourges of baby teeth and dentists alike. They
would be the last things consumed as the Autumn chill
grew more pronounced and wandering spirits gave way
to thanks and the promise of apple pie and candy canes beyond
that. It was childhood survival, 1970s style. And we were never
more proud to be greedy.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This is me trick or treating at my aunt’s house in 1971. My four-year-old brain had already figured out the whole “the bigger the bag, the bigger the haul” thing.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I had been working on a piece about Swedish Fish when I spotted a blog post from Silver Birch Press prompting the authors to submit photos of themselves trick or treating. This got me to thinking about all the rules and rituals we had as kids when we went out on Halloween. My goal was always to make my candy stash last from Halloween until Thanksgiving. And, as far as I can recall, I only came up short a couple of times.


Richard L. Levesque 
has been writing and publishing poetry since 1991. He is the author of two chapbooks, Bone-Break Psychobilly Stew and Fetal Graceland. He is currently working on a third chapbook, Carriagetown Frogs, about his life growing up in Amesbury, Massachusetts. He currently resides in Indianapolis, Indiana, with his wife Lorrie.