The Great Halloween (Candy) Caper
By Susan Eaton, daughter of Beverly (Ware) Eaton
As a child, I had many fond memories of my maternal grandfather, Carroll W. Ware. He was born in Union County, KY, on a small farm near Henshaw. As a young man in the early 30’s, he and his brother, my great uncle Bennett, came to Michigan to work as stone cutters. There, he met and married my grandmother, and eventually opened a small cut stone business in suburban Detroit which flourished until his death in 1969.
My cousins and I spent many a weekend and holiday at Grandpa Ware’s house. Grandma Ware had just died earlier that April, and he welcomed the company to brighten his days a little, and we always had so much fun there.
He loved to feed us. Vanilla wafers, sweet tea, and tomato soup were the specialties from his kitchen, which went from the can, to the pan, to my bowl (Yum!), but with Grandpa’s special touch of adding torn bread instead of crackers. To this day I will sometimes put torn bread in my tomato soup as comfort food.
One memorable night was Halloween evening. This was the night that Grandpa’s neighborhood had their assigned night of trick-or-treating. I was just 8 years old, and my cousins and I were more than ready to go out in the neighborhood to see what bounty we could get, candy-wise. Because of tampering cases of candies that seemed to always be in the news in the Detroit area during that time, we agreed to let our candy be inspected by our parents. Grandpa laid a clean sheet on the living room floor where the candy would be dumped, and the grownups would then inspect it. Once it was deemed safe, they divided it evenly among us kids. I hadn’t done any trick-or-treating there before, so I was very excited.
We gulped down our required dinner, and at the crack of dusk, out we went in our costumes, dragging our pillowcases behind us in gleeful anticipation of tracking down our candy-kill. I was used to light amounts of candy in our home neighborhood, but nothing prepared me for the onslaught of goodies bestowed upon me and my cousins on Detroit’s West Side! We made the first trip back to empty our pillowcases shortly after the first block, then the next block, and the next, and so on. Soon, we were coming and going in a flurry–back to Grandpa’s, dump the candy on the floor, and back out to collect more treats!
Finally our parents said we had enough on the candy-front, and made us stop before the curfew of 11:00pm. When I came back into the house, I
could not believe my eyes! There was the sheet on the floor, with a great big heap of candy standing nearly 3 ft. high! I never had seen so much candy before (or since) that night. We sat there and ate candy until we were nearly sick, and had frozen Halloween candy for many years thereafter. I think I must’ve had my fill that night, because as an adult I’m not a big candy-eater!
And when I think of Halloween, I think about that magical night in 1964 when me and my cousins hit the candy jackpot.