We used to trick or treat with the same seriousness exhibited by big game hunters. Instead of safari hats and guns, we sported rubber masks and flashlights.

We traded tips on which houses yielded the best treats, and which should be avoided as a waste of precious time. We had exactly two and a half hours every year — from 6 to 8:30 — to complete our quest. The ultimate goal was a full pillow case of Halloween candy each, but few ever achieved that ideal without help from a cheating grandmother.

It was still the day of homemade cookies and popcorn balls —  which were delicious but posed a problem in the bottom of a bag. The choice was usually to eat them as we worked, and work it was. Apples survived fine on the bottom of the pile of accumulated candy, but we avoided collecting too many of them because of the weight factor.

When we finally made the rounds of the neighborhood, ringing doorbells and enduring the questioning of what we were “supposed to be,” we returned to our separate houses. My sister and I rendez-voused in our bedroom and locked the door. Like pirates with treasure, we spread out our loot and began the counting process. The total haul was broken down into apples, cookies, coins, and candy. We then divided the candy up into keep, trade, and give to Dad. Dad got anything resembling licorice, Necco wafers, and raspberry filled. Buffy also passed her coconut items to him, although I kept mine. We both anted up some Snickers for him because he liked them, but we held out on the Milky Ways.

Then came the matter of finding a place to hide everything. If we planned our location carefully and rationed, we could make supplies last past Christmas and going to Valentine’s Day — although Dad sometimes threw off our schedule by bargaining for candy. And Mom would occasionally try to trick us by offering to store a portion in the freezer where it would be “safe.”