Sunday, November 2, 2008

Road trip to Texas: Day 15

It's Halloween. We drove from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, to Blacksburg, Virginia, and tossed candy out the window to Halloweeners all along the 800-mile trip. Not really, but we did wonder how many kids would be disappointed that we weren't at home on this ghoulish night. Last year, we didn't have more than 20 or so kids stop by and I suppose door-to-door trick-or-treating is slowly dying out in favor of group activities in controlled venues.

Even when I was a kid, there were rumors about the "weird guy who lives on the corner" who puts razor blades in apples, or gives out cigarettes. I never saw anything like this happen, but it shows that we were concerned about of inherent dangers of accepting gifts from strangers.

Living in the border city of El Paso, Texas, I recall the opportunity Halloween provided for kids from Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. Thousands of kids would come across the border in cars and trucks fanning out in El Paso's well-to-do areas in search of candy and other handouts. Just like American kids, they would dress up in a wide variety of costumes, mostly homemade, ringing door bells and shouting "Trick or Treat!"

Some of you may wonder how they could cross the border to participate in this uniquely American tradition. Their parents held border crossing cards, which were issued to Mexicans by the U.S. Immigration Service who could provide proof of employment in Mexico. This system allowed people to freely cross into the United States to shop, go to restaurants, and even set up bank accounts. Many Mexicans I worked with had U.S. dollar savings accounts at El Paso banks in order to create a hedge against peso devaluation and inflation which, at the time, was consistently in double digits.

Here are a few Halloween pictures for you to enjoy:

My daughter, Sarah, her husband, Mark, and the puppy, Timothy

Puppy with friend at Ernst & Young Halloween office party

Puppy getting ready to dig through the trash, a typical problem with dogs

Trinity, the fairy princess

Troy, the zebra

Christopher, the scary dude, with the fairy princess

My daughter Gayle's dog Nikki as Tinkerbell

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