Sue End of Macclenny really loves Halloween, and she’s delighted it will be a one-night affair this year.
Last fall, when Halloween fell on a Sunday, the Baker County Commission asked that trick or treaters venture out on Saturday instead, so that trick or treating coincided with the other Halloween-themed events in the community, some at local churches.
Commissioners designated by formal proclamation that the night of October 30, 2010 would be “the official trick or treat night.”
For the last decade, Ms. End and her husband John have prepared for the holiday by hoarding copious amounts of candy, dispensing the sweets to eager trick or treaters. They host a Halloween party at their Miltondale Dr. home for friends as well.
And last year was no different.
“We got kids on both nights,” she said of Halloween weekend 2010. “Unfortunately, on Sunday, I didn’t have any candy to give out.”
This year, with Halloween safely on a Monday, there should be no confusion about when trick or treating will take place. For Ms. End, however, it’s never been a question.
“Halloween is always October 31. Are you going to change Christmas because it falls on a weekday and messes up your work week?” she asked rhetorically. “[Halloween] is not about evil. It’s just a fun holiday for kids to dress up and go out and celebrate.”
The 19-year Baker County resident started buying candy last July to ready for the hundreds of costumed children she says typically arrive at her home.
“I have this huge laundry basket that I line with a plastic garbage bag,” she said. “I start in the summer filling it up and on Halloween night other people bring more candy when they come for the party as well.”
She estimates her contribution at about 50 pounds of candy or more.
“I try to think about things like a child I know who is diabetic,” she says. “He was diagnosed just before Halloween a while back. He still trick or treats, but has to give his candy away.”
Ms. End buys sugar free candy and makes the child a special treat bag.
“Halloween is all about kids,” she said. “Nobody should feel left out.”
As a teenager in Orlando, Ms. End often took children she was baby-sitting out and about for the traditional Halloween ritual.
One of her favorite Halloween memories is of an elderly women in her neighborhood who lovingly made candy apples for trick or treaters.
“It was the only time the kids were allowed to eat anything homemade,” said Ms. End. “She’d call ahead of time to find out how many kids would be coming in my group. Sometimes I had as many as 12 kids and she’d have the apples individually wrapped for each one. She did that for years.”
Now, friends and their children come over on Halloween night. The young children are sent out with a few adults to trick or treat while the other adults distribute the candy.
“After all the trick or treaters go home, we enjoy a party and cookout in our backyard,” Ms. End said.
A new addition to the festivities this year is a fog machine that Mr. End intends to set up in the newly-built garage.
“We’re passing around ideas on how to spook it up a little bit more — not so bad that we scare off the smaller children, but enough to add some intrigue for the older ones,” said Ms. End. “Maybe some chains rattling or spooky sound effects to play.” as the night wears on.”