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Halloween report from a friend

My friend John Kafentzis shared a Halloween 2013 headcount and a lasting memory.

“The results are in and we had 81 trick-or-treaters this year, not a record but not bad in a nation where parents are crazy with fear over the dangers their children face even though there is no statistical data that shows kids are in any more peril now than they were 50 years ago.

“This year was no record. When my kids were in their trick-or-treating prime we routinely toted more than 100.

“I always tally like my father did before me. Not that he, or me, ever remember the number the next year.

“Except once in the early '60s we had 221 trick-or-treaters visit our suburban Missoula home.

“I don't think it ever occurred to my dad to close the blinds and turn off the porch light. A child of the Depression and a World War II vet, he liked to finish what he started and he was a skillful adapter.

“That night adapting meant conscripting the goodies my sister and I had collected. My dad was always big on everyone pitching in.

“At least he let us choose what to give up. It was no big deal to sacrifice the fruit, popcorn balls and assortment of cheap suckers.

“”When we got down to the Milky Ways and Hersheys it was painful.

“They came in waves, cowboys and Indians, pirates and princesses and witches and hobos.

“There were times when he didn't close the door between groups.

“Then, it stopped. After 30 minutes of no trick-or-treaters my dad called it. It was way past 9. He had served every trick-or-treater who climbed our steps. My sister and I still had a few treats.

“He always remembered the year we had 221.

“We all did.”

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Features writer Paul Turner is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review in the Features department. He writes "The Slice" column, which appears six times a week and produces general features stories for the Today section.

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