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Trick or Treat, Smell my Feet

The earworm won’t go away.  It plays over and over in my head.  All because my 16-year-old Grand asked if his family could trick or treat in my neighborhood this year, like they did last year.  He reminded me that the little kids, his siblings, liked it and that my street is safe.

            “Sure, but it’s your parents’ decision.  I’ll walk with you if they say it’s okay,” I told him. And then I added, “Treat or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat.” 

            I should have stopped after the word okay.  My Grand closed his eyes and shook his head as a teen-ager tends to do when a grandmother says something silly.  And those words about feet and something to eat have been on earworm rewind for a week. 

            That jingle takes me back to being a kid ghost, covered in a white sheet with eye holes cut out, and walking around my neighborhood on Halloween night.  My girlfriend and I chanted, “Smell my feet, give me something good to eat!” until we knocked on doors. 

            When a door opened, we held open our jack-o-lantern decorated paper grocery bags and in our sweetest voices we simply said, “Treat or treat.” In days of past, we children only knocked on doors of people we knew and we expected only one sucker or small chocolate candy at each house.  And I was always sure that if I wasn’t polite and said ‘thank you’ that the neighbor would report my bad manners to my parents.  I’d never say smell my feet to a grown-up.

            Since the smell-my-feet earworm hasn’t crawled away, I’ve wondered who wrote this jingle and when.  Every online source I found listed the writer as Anonymous.  After all, who’d claim credit for penning such words?  The jingle is first cited in print in 1948 or 1964, according to different online sites, but there are no named publications.  Who’d claim the notoriety of first printing these words? 

            I did discover several versions of the jingle.  Trick or treat, bags of sweets, ghosts are walking down the street.  Trick or treat, give me something good to eat; if you don’t I won’t be sad; I’ll just make you wish you had.  Kids in Canada have their own version:  Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat; not too big, not too small, just the size of Montreal.

            And I discovered a version, first cited in print in 1988 (again, no publication listed) that I hadn’t heard before and will erase from my head so to never say aloud:  Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat; if you don’t, I don’t care, I’ll pull down your underwear. 

            Imagine if I’d said to my Grand pull down your underwear instead of smell my feet.  He wouldn’t walk down my street with me again and that earworm would be even more annoying.

            How about bags of sweet?  That could be a pleasant earworm.


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