Halloween

When I was young, I never really liked Halloween. My mother had a paper sari and usually wrapped me up in it, put a dot on my forehead and called me Indira Gandhi. When I told the other kids what my custume was, they’d look at me like I was speaking a foreign language. When I stood at their doors wrapped in my green paper sari with my crooked pigtails, adults always said, “Look, an Indian princess!”

I’d respond with indignation. “No. I’m Indira Gandhi, the former Prime Minister of India.”

“Very good,” they’d say, as they dropped handfuls of Tootsie Rolls and Dumdums into my pillowcase.

I always seemed to get more Tootsie Rolls than anything else. I didn’t even like Tootsie Rolls. My father made out best during Halloween. He loved Tootsie Rolls.

One Halloween, I saw a news report about bad guys putting razor blades in apples and sewing needles in candy bars. That year, I eyed the people dropping candy into my pillowcase suspiciously. I only ate the hard candy and lollipops, and let my sister and father eat the rest. I watched them eat chocolate bars and taffy and waited for them to gag and spit up blood. Luckily, that didn’t happen, and I was able to return to my normal candy consumption the following year.

Now I rarely dress up for Halloween. I’m one of those people who turns off all the lights and hides out from trick or treaters. I wouldn’t want anyone to accuse me of putting a sewing needle in their Tootsie Roll.

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