Jon Dawson: Local community to give out collards for Halloween

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October 31 is just around the corner, which means retailers are already stocking the shelves for Christmas.

Both of our Tax Deductions have aged out of Halloween, but my friend and radio colleague Bryan Hanks still loves to dress up like Blanche from the Golden Girls and ask strangers for candy, be it Halloween or any random Thursday.

“He’s going for Blanche but most people for some reason mistake him for Alf,” said Bryan Hanks Show co-host Jonathan Massey. “But to his credit, the dress he started out using 12 years ago still fits.”

My two Tax Deductions were as cute as could be when they’d suit up for the annual candy heist. Since The Wife and I provided transportation and acted as their security detail, we felt it was only fair that we take all the good candy. The Twix and Snickers belonged to us. Our two Tax Deductions had full access to the candy corn.

I realize it’s in vogue to pick on them, but the Millennials are the biggest threat to Halloween fun. They’ve been trying to eradicate comedy in all forms over the last few years, and although I’m not on their mailing list, one can only assume the huge bonuses the holiday generates for candy company executives just has their blood boiling.

Most sane people realize pollution is a problem we need to deal with but is it really necessary to register a complaint with H.R. because your co-worker (who was born before irony became part of the food pyramid) bought plastic cups for the Halloween party?

Chris Blizzard of Blizzard Building Supply in Kinston explains how all treated lumber is not the same.

Paper cups aren’t great for the environment either, and you can’t use glasses because I’m sure there’s something in the dish soap that causes dyspepsia in lab mice. I guess everyone should have a piece of cake and then have a swig of water from the water hose. No, that won’t work as there are trace elements of plastic in the hose. I guess just stand outside and wait for it to rain.

A few years ago our Tax Deductions helped a friend of mine hand out candy on Halloween. Most of the kids who came up to the house were very cute and very polite. Amid the adorable, nice kids, a group of award-winners who were all vaping strolled up.

That’s right – a group of teenage boys and girls were asking for candy with e-cigarettes in their mouths.

“You may want to try the doctor’s house at the end of the block,” I said. “I hear he’s passing out Nicorette this year.”

When it comes to haunted houses, the scariest I’ve ever experienced is the “Adult House of Horrors” operated by Jonathan Massey over in Seven Springs.

“Some people were against the idea of an adult-themed haunted house,” Massey said. “But there’s nothing here that adults don’t deal with daily. We have the frightening ‘Tunnel of Property Taxes’, the ghastly ‘Hall of Mortgages’, the blood-curdling ‘Tower of Tuition’ and the terrifying ‘Radio That Only Plays Ed Sheeran.”

During my prime trick-or-treating years from the ages of 3 to 29, Halloween costumes came in what looked like a Krispy Kreme doughnut box containing a plastic Batman outfit with a cape and mask. The outfit and cape were made of plastic so toxic there was a warning on the box about leaving the windows in the car rolled down while trick-or-treating. The mask smelled like an antique tater tot and was strapped to your face with a rubber band tight enough to slice granite.

Did I mention the costumes were flammable?

One Halloween a nice lady dropped a candy bar in my bag while puffing on a cigarette. A stray ember from her Newport landed on my Superman outfit and within seconds it was transformed into a Human Torch outfit. The lady pushed me to the ground to put the fire out, but since she was still smoking the cigarette the fire kept flaring back up. I had to finish trick-or-treating that night wearing the woman’s Avon Sales Rep of the Year windbreaker.

Large mums in a variety of colors for only $15! Available now at Bannister’s Fine Gifts, located at 106 West Railroad Street in La Grange.

Rural trick-or-treating is different in that you’re not always going to receive store-bought candy. For every Payday or Kit Kat, there’ll be a sweet potato, a bag of cornbread and the occasional sausage biscuit. My parents said they routinely received collards when they were trick-or-treating.

This Halloween many houses will be booby-trapped with expensive gadgets designed to scare the breakfast right out of your children. When I was trick-or-treating in the Bucklesberry community, the scariest thing I ever saw – and it’s still tough to talk about – was the time someone offered my parent’s a glass of unsweetened tea. I had nightmares about it for years and to this day carry two packs of sugar in my shirt pocket as a precaution.

I hope you kids have fun out there this year, but please have enough couth to stay off of your phones while people are handing you candy.

If you’d like to advertise with the Bucklesberry Gazette, email

Jon Dawson’s books are available at

The entire archive of shows can be found at

The Bryan Hanks Show airs on 960-AM in Kinston and daily at 7 a.m. & 3 p.m. It also airs on the suite of stations in New Bern and Greenville (107.5-FM) at 6 p.m.

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