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Halloween goes to the Dogs
By Fay Funk
Halloween is a holiday of excess. I mean, so are Christmas and Thanksgiving, but on Halloween there is no shame. Other holidays are also about spending time with family and doing good things for the community, and even though plenty of us don’t do those things, there is a sense that we should. Not on Halloween, though. You can dress in your skimpiest outfit, gorge yourself on candy, and stay up all night without any shame.
The holiday of debauchery is actually the one that has taught me the most about behaving like an adult. I learned what happens when you drink too much and stay up all night at a stranger’s party in college. When I was very young I learned a hard lesson about disrespect, both for people and things, and what that can bring down.
I was nine years old, and my sister and I had just returned from trick-or-treating each with a huge haul of candy. None of the elderly people in my neighborhood had recognized my Sailor Mercury costume, but in spite of that it was a good night. We set about sorting our loot.
My sister and I had very different approaches to Halloween candy. I fully embraced the excess of Halloween and ate as much candy as I could stuff into my face that night, and then every night until it was gone. She would savor, having maybe one piece of candy a day, very measured and responsible. One year, she managed to make her candy last all the way to the next Halloween.
These systems were not compatible. I ran out of candy within a few days, while her massive sack sat in her room, uneaten, mocking me. Inevitably the urge to get some sugar in me became too strong, and I would sneak some of her candy. I always intended to only take a piece or two, but inevitably greed got the best of me and I would grab large handfuls of candy, several times a day. Then my sister would notice, and there would be a fight. This happened every year.
We went about our usual rituals. I dumped all my candy on the floor of my room and started eating it, while my sister searched for the best hiding place to keep her candy out of my reach. Every year she hid it, and every year I found it.
The next day was a school day. All day I thought about the candy I would be filling my face with when I went home. It was the highlight of my day, the one thing getting me through school post-Halloween.
What I found when I got home was devastation. The pile of candy on my floor was half gone. During the day, my family’s chubby black labrador Hobie had gotten greedy himself. Never the type to even pretend at moderation, Hobie had pigged out all day on candy, until he literally could not fit anymore in his stomach.
I had only myself to blame. I left a huge pile of food at dog-level. There was no protection for it; I hadn’t even closed my bedroom door. I was careless and I was paying for it, in Kit-Kats and Three Musketeers bars.
My sister had hidden her candy somewhere up high, out of dog range. This is all I know, because for the first time ever, I could not find her candy. She wasn’t willing to share that year, either.
Hobie was fine. He ate enough chocolate to kill a bear, but acted like nothing happened. By this point in his life he had eaten several rolls of toilet paper, a ball of yarn, and an entire turkey and survived, so we just figured his insides were made of titanium. A few days later, he pooped out a Reeses. Fully wrapped, in perfect condition. As awe-inspiring as it was disgusting.
Every year from then on my Halloween candy went high up on a shelf, far away from any hungry dogs. It’s the first time I learned to treat the things I value with respect. I would still search for my sister’s candy, because I am far from perfect, but over the years I dialed it back. It turns out that so long as her space is respected, my sister is open to sharing.
#Real #Halloween #PersonalEssays #LifeExperiences #SailorMercuryCostume #TrickOrTreating #DogsAndCandy #Candies
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