So what is it that makes people climb all over the place, putting spider webs on chimneys, bats on rooftops, and pumpkins and skeletons in their front yards? Why is Halloween such a magical holiday?
Merle thinks it’s all the pretending you can do when you’re behind a mask. I loved dressing up when I was little—except for the funny way my mask smelled after I’d been breathing inside it for a couple of hours.
And I loved taking our daughters to the second-hand clothing store so they could put together their own wild and crazy outfits. There was never a chance they’d be passing someone else on the street in the same outfit.
I will never forget the year my dad dressed up, too, when he took my brother and me out in the neighborhood. Daddy wore the wig, the elbow-high gloves, and the shirtwaist dress well. But it was the way he slid the hem of the skirt up a few inches, so he could hitch up the garters holding his nylons, that will forever stay in my mind. My dad has always been dignified and reserved, but that night I saw what happens to a man behind a mask.
My elementary school had its own funny tradition. We each got a plain brown paper grocery bag to decorate as a mask. My mom always made mine for me. (I didn’t trust myself as an artist after my neighbor woman laughed at my sheep when she attended our class’ art exhibit with my mom.) And Ma was good. Her best bag/mask was a man with bulbous red cheeks who smoked a pipe.
You can take your kids Halloweening—or post yourself at your front door and welcome all the trick-or-treaters—and then, without any delay, wind up the celebrations with Caramel Apples on Sticks—MADE IN YOUR SLOW COOKER!!! No need to miss any of the fun.
Caramel Apples on Sticks
Fix-It and Forget-It Big Cookbook: 1400 Best Slow-Cooker Recipes, pg. 631
Makes 8-10 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 1-1½ hours
2 14-oz. bags of caramels
¼ cup water
8-10 medium apples
12-15 sticks (you’ll want some extras in case some break)
1. Remove plastic wrapping from caramels. Combine caramels and water in slow cooker.
2. Cover. Cook on High 1-1½ hours, stirring every few minutes. (If you’re doing the trick-or-treat route, make a bargain with someone who’ll happily stay at home and stir while handing out candy to visiting trick-or-treaters.)
3. Wash and dry apples. Insert a stick into stem end of each apple.
4. Turn cooker to Low. Dip apple into hot caramel, turning to coat entire surface.
5. Holding apple above cooker, scrape off excess accumulation of caramel from bottom of apple.
6. Dip bottom of caramel-coated apple in granulated sugar to keep it from sticking.
7. Place apple on greased waxed paper to cool.