From the Editor: October: Red Leaves, Dark Beer & Chocolate

October means red leaves, dark beer and lots of chocolate

By Michele D. Baker 

I don’t know about you, but October is my absolute favorite month. The weather is finally cool, the leaves are changing to beautiful scarlets, oranges and golds, and all the best food is on the menu! 

In Florida, October means lots of outdoor dining with wine, beer and spirits galore. In the Lifestyles After 50 readership area along I-75, there are no fewer than eight celebrations of Oktoberfest, everywhere from Mount Dora to Cape Coral. See the article on what to wear to Oktoberfest on pages 8 and 9 and make note of the festival nearest you! 

October is also the month of Halloween, which happens to be my favorite holiday. I think this stems from when I was a child in the 1970s. I was that child with hippie dippy parents who believed sugar was evil; we ate only free range, farm to table, organic foods. As you can tell, my parents were way ahead of the trend and now I consider myself lucky, but at the time I thought it was a horrible imposition because none of my classmates ate that way. I used to go over to a friend’s house each day after school because her mother had an entire cabinet full of Little Debbie snack cakes, potato chips, and Pop-Tarts and the refrigerator always had 2-liter Cokes in it (and Diet Coke, Sprite, and Fanta orange soda). For lunch at school, my brother and I ate freshly prepared chicken salad on whole grain bread with raisins as a snack – in recycled paper lunch bags, no less – but my friends had metal Superman lunchboxes from which they pulled bologna and Kraft cheese slices on Wonder bread with yellow mustard… and Pringles. 

Related: Book Review: Recipes from the Grave

However, Halloween was the great equalizer. It was the one day a year when I was allowed to dress up like Princess Leia (my brother was Darth Vader) and go house to house begging for food like a street urchin from “Oliver.” I always came home with my plastic pumpkin bucket brimming with treats, and my brother and I would spread our hoard over the living room floor and spend hours swapping candy for what we liked best: we learned the art of negotiating in those sessions! I wanted anything chocolate, and he was more a Twizzlers and jellybeans kind of guy. (We also secretly made fun of the neighbors who bought cheap hard candies from the dollar store and praised those who gave out full size Snickers bars.) 

This year, no matter how you spend your October – with friends at home, or at Oktoberfest or a Halloween party – I wish you a fabulous, healthy, and beautiful fall! 

Until next time,