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I can still remember our collective howls of disappointment the year we missed Halloween. Who could blame us for crying--Halloween is arguably one of the most fun holidays of the year for kids. I mean, free candy, come on.

And that year I discovered a new dislike for school since it was partly due to that fine establishment that we missed out on the much coveted, fat bags of sweet loot. See, my parents were a little fuzzy about which day everyone would be going out for candy. This particular year Halloween fell on a Sunday. Evidently, "everyone" decided to celebrate it on a Saturday so kids would be rested for school on the following Monday.

My parents never got the memo.

That Sunday night Dad loaded us all into our old blue and white station wagon and we set off with high hopes and smiles all around. Happiness soon turned to dawning despair as we drove around darkened neighborhoods with no fellow ghouls in sight

Just when we were starting to sniffle and whine, Dad had an idea; there would be trick-or- treating in the nearby, larger city! Sure, that was it --the little town we lived in had it all wrong. With our hopes and spirits rising, we set off for the nearby city of Beaumont. But it was the same story. A nice lady at one of the doors we knocked at--one of the only ones that answered our frantic cries -- gave us such a look of pure pity, "I'm sorry, kiddos. Halloween was last night." (Cue the collective howls).

Poor Dad. I know he felt like a real jerk for getting things wrong. To try and make amends he stopped at a convenience store and bought each of us a Hershey's chocolate bar. Then, as even more of a consolation prize, he took us to see our favorite cousins at my Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Jack's house. When the cousins heard our tale of woe, they felt so sad for us and even offered to share some of the candy they had collected the night before.

On our way back home we still grumbled a little about the mix-up but I think we all knew how badly Dad felt about the whole thing and we didn't give in to our previous degree of belly-aching.

Our anguish didn't end there as the next day at school we were forced to hear kid after kid recount their stories of trick-or-treat treasures; "They were giving out money at some of the houses!" "I got a candy apple AND a popcorn ball!" And then the final straw, "The bag was so heavy I had to go back home and get a new one!"

The year we missed Halloween was the worst time of my 6-year-old life. But hey, a lesson was learned. The next year we were back in the fray with the other kids, running from house to house and making out like bandits, the tragedy of the previous year a disturbing, yet distant memory

I'm 54 now and I certainly haven't forgotten the Halloween-that-wasn't (as it became known in family lore), but I forgive you, Dad!