Aside from the costumes, face paint, running around the neighborhood with friends (and foes) under the cover of night, and trying to fill your pillow case before schlepping it all back home, Halloween, for me, always hit its peak at the end. Exhausted and elated, with a little help from Mom, you wipe off the smeared makeup, change into your jammies, and re-convene in the family room to dump out your evening's haul onto the carpet and show off your hard-earned booty.
You know what I'm talking about. Amid the multitudes of Sweetarts, Smarties, Tootsie Rolls and Candy Corn, a full-sized Snickers Bar might emerge, a Fun Dip or a bag full of Pixie Styx. Victory was had when Tootsie Roll Pops and Blow Pops outnumbered the Dum-Dums four to one, or if you were the lucky one who scored two boxes of Botan Rice Candy with the edible paper instead of only one.
Quite a bit has changed since the last time I went trick-or-treating. Kids can't run about willy-nilly anymore due to a terrible combination of urban myth and harsh truths. There are designated, well-lit neighborhoods and bags are searched by concerned moms and dads, carefully weeding out prizes that are unwrapped or seem unsafe. I actually feel sort of bad for kids these days. After all, they'll never know the Halloween I experienced. Also, I'm an adult now and I can have whatever kind of treats I want and, I promise you, they won't come in a wrapper.
Salted Caramel Eclair from La Boulangerie
These days, my ultimate Halloween “bag” would be filled with things like Salted Caramel Eclairs from La Boulangerie. Each bite filling my mouth with flaky pastry and sweet, decadent cream far surpasses any store-bought candy bar by a mile. Or what about a simple apple frangipane tart covered in buttery crumbles and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar?
Slice of Turtle Doberge Cake from Bakery Bar
It might get a bit messy, but my bag would definitely have a slice of Turtle Doberge Cake from Bakery Bar with its layers and layers of sweet, chocolaty bliss, and I'd wash it all down with a “Brandy Alejandro” with Reposado Tequila, cinnamon syrup, coffee liqueur and cream. Why? Because I can. Or what about one of the many, awesome popsicles to be had at Cavan? I'd never be able to choose between a chocolate-covered banana popsicle with espresso cream, a simple strawberry shortcake, or a dark chocolate ice cream popsicle encased in white chocolate and covered in brittle.
White Chocolate Popsicle from Cavan
Where would the madness end? Certainly not until I had the ultimate, charred s'mores at Primitivo, with oozing dark chocolate and marshmallow at the end of a meat skewer, or popped a few carrot cake doughnuts in my mouth after dipping them in cream cheese icing.
Charred S'mores from Primitivo
Now that I consider it, some things never change—for example, the intense food coma, thirst and headaches that await anyone indulging in a giant bag of treats. But like my younger self, I'm always willing to pay the price. Happy Halloween!