Halloween was my favorite holiday as a child. My brother, Jeffrey, and I couldn’t wait to dress up and join the other neighborhood kids in trick-or-treating. Jeffrey had an affinity for vampires long before the Twilight franchise, and every year he dressed as one (sans sparkle) he got the most candy; further proof vampires are sexier. We would come home from our door-to-door begging and dump our pumpkin pails out on the brown-looped living room carpet. We shuffled through our candy throwing the wins back into our pails and leaving the losses on the floor. Like traders on the floor of the stock market, the frenzy began.
“I’ve got a popcorn ball.” Jeffrey started the trade. “It’s an Alexander’s special, so I’ll take that Tootsie roll log and jawbreaker.”
“No way!” I shook my head. “The jaw breaker for the popcorn ball take it or leave it!”
“Fine.” He threw the popcorn ball at me and I reared back to return the favor.
“No, no, Sissy, okay don’t throw it.” He prematurely flinched.
I laughed and placed it in his hand. “You should be the one answering to sissy.”
I eyed his stash and picked up the Tootsie roll log. “What d’ya say this for the candy cigarettes?”
“No deal.” He placed them in his pumpkin pail.
“Not for trade.” He held up a small bag of M&M’s. “For your Tootsie roll log.”
“Hmmm.” I strategized out loud. “Seems to me that this Tootsie roll log is in demand.”
“Whatever I don’t want it anymore.” He put the M&M’s back in his stash.
“No, I don’t.”
“Well then if you don’t want it then I think I’ll eat it now.”
“Whatever.” He rolled his big brown eyes. “I don’t care.”
I pretended to open it.
“Okay! Don’t eat it.” He pulled it from me. “I’ll take this and give you M&M’s and whatever else you want you name it.”
I ran my hands over his stash. “I’ll take the M&M’s and the candy cigarettes then.”
“Deal.” He smiled unaware that he had been hosed.
I smiled completely aware. “I hate candy corn.” I separated them from my pile. “You want them?”
“Yeah but you have to give me something for free too.”
“Okay, I hate butterscotch.” He slid three over one-after-another on the carpet. “It tastes like butter. I don’t like butter.”
“You nut job, it’s not made out of real butter!”
“Yes it is.”
I rolled my eyes. “Whatever.”
We would spend half-an-hour trading candy before the real competition began.
“I bet I can eat all my candy before you can.” He challenged.
I sized up his weight in candy. “Okay, but we have to make it even.”
“Okay, let’s take out the big candy and eat the same amount of little candy.” He emptied his pumpkin.
I followed his lead. We counted out twenty pieces of smaller and equal candy and excluded the larger pieces.
“Okay, you ready?” I asked.
He shook his head yes.
“Wait. We have to make it interesting.”
“Like how?” He asked.
“How about the winner gets all the candy?”
He squinted his eyes. “Okay but then we have to switch piles to make it innersting.”
“Whatever.” He smiled mischievously.
“No deal.” I shook my head.
“Chicken.” He held his hands behind him.
“Am not.” I knew I could beat him. “Fine, here.”
He pushed his toward me.
“Okay, ready?” I asked.
He shook his head and laughed.
“What’s so funny?”
He brought his hands in front of him and dropped the candy corn into the pile. “You forgot to add these!”
“I hate candy corn!”
He smiled, big. “I know but you have to do it or you lose. On your mark.”
I was about to disagree.
“Set, go.” He said before I had a chance.
I couldn’t lose my candy. I stuffed my mouth in the candy-off, and we went head to head until the very last few pieces; candy corn. He chewed them down as I nibbled on the morsel of overused corn syrup and sugar unable to swallow it down.
Jeffrey sprung to his feet and jumped around me screaming, “I won! I won! You lose! You lose! I’m getting all the candy! I win! I win!”
His tiny hand gripped the handle of my pumpkin pail, but I quickly gripped it unwilling to let go.
“Hey, no fair.” He sat down. “We had a deal and you lost fair and square.”
“You’re a sore loser!”
“Sore loser!” He jumped up and started yelling. “Sore loser! Sore loser!”
“Fine! Shut up!” I rolled the plastic pumpkin pail across the floor as the candy fell out.
He ran over and picked them up one-by-one and placed them into his pail; combining the candy.
I walked over to the couch to pout, and he followed, sat beside me, and held out the popcorn ball.
“Lucky for you I’m a sore winner.”