"My father owned biggest grocery store in the region when I was a little boy, and we used to give away free candy on Halloween. And, we were famous for doing this, and we always had 10 times more candy than anybody ever wanted and we bought direct from the factory, and we bought half a truckload at a time. And, one Halloween, sure enough we ran out of candy and didn't have any at the store to give away, much less to sell.
Well, my father, who was tired and ready to go home, started giving out potatoes to the trick-or-treaters. And, needless to say, the trick-or-treaters were not happy because they'd been getting candy every year! After that, every year after that, Daddy would tell them to take off their masks. They could only have candy if they'd take off their masks and show him who they were, or else get a potato from that year forward!"
Part of the "Stories from Main Street" project--an effort to collect stories about small-town life across the United States. The project was the brainchild of the Smithsonian's "Museum on Main Street" program, an initiative that brings traveling exhibitions about subjects of national importance to small towns across America.