A couple of Saturdays ago, with a bill needing to be dropped in the mail and the outdoor temperature quite comfortable for mid-October, rather than grabbing the car keys and driving to the post office my son, Caleb, and I instead chose the healthy option and walked the approximately 2-mile round-trip.
During our hike along Broadway we passed a man decorating his yard for Halloween. His property was by no means the only site that we passed which featured RIP headstones, fake spider webs, inflatable ghosts and carved pumpkins.
I dare say that Hannibal residents decorate for Halloween more than any other community in which I have lived, which I must confess numbers only four.
At the Henley hacienda the extent of our decorating through the years has been the purchase of a pumpkin or two, which my wife, Nancy, would use for pies shortly after Halloween had come and gone.
At the risk of sounding like an old demon, I am lukewarm at best regarding the observance of Halloween. But that is the adult speaking and not the youngster who enjoyed dressing up and going trick-or-treating.
My favorite Halloween outfit was the year I dressed up as Sgt. Hans Schultz, a heavy-set German guard at a prisoner of war camp on the television show, Hogan’s Heroes, which aired on CBS from September 1965 until April 1971. His most notable line was something to the effect of, “I see nothing. I hear nothing. I know nothing.”
Obviously that was a long, long time ago. According to an email I received recently from All Home Connections the most Google searched Halloween costume in Missouri this year is a dinosaur. Across the United States it is Spider-Man.
Just how many web masters and dinosaurs are seen prowling the streets of Hannibal on Halloween night remains to be seen. According to a national survey conducted by the chocolate company, See’s Candies, 56.5% of American families plan to stay in this year. Instead of going out they intend to watch a Halloween-themed or a scary movie.
Thirty percent of the 1,000 responding parents of school-aged children plan on turning out the lights to avoid trick-or-treaters. Of those who intend to welcome costumed kids, 30% will be leaving their candy bowls outside the house, to enable social distancing.
The CDC has offered suggestions on how to make trick-or-treating safer this year. Avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters. Give out treats outdoors, when possible. Set up a station with individually bagged treats for youngsters to take. Wash hands before handling treats. Wear a mask.
According to the CDC a costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask. It also says to not wear a costume mask over a cloth mask as it can make breathing more difficult.
With more houses expected to go dark on Halloween this year, it is important to remember that there will be some organized Halloween events in Hannibal. On Saturday morning the Farmers Market in Central Park will be dispensing goodies. On Halloween afternoon the Hannibal Police Department will stage its annual party for children at the Admiral Coontz Recreation Center.
Finally, youngsters must remember to keep an eye on their bag of treats. According to a survey of 1,637 adults, aged 18 and over, conducted by TopCashback.com, a whopping 82% admit they steal candy from their kids’ Halloween haul. And out of that group 57% admitted keeping at least 10%.
While it is unknown if that percentage of candy-pilfering adults is normal or not, one thing is for sure this will be a Halloween like none other.