Scott Levine.jpg

Scott Levine

Associated Press

A staple of my childhood will return Saturday.

I will participate in trick-or-treating for the first time since grade school, when I tag along with my little bumblebee (my daughter) and my wife, on a trip around the neighborhood searching for bite-size candy.

Last year, our daughter was still a little too small to partake in the fun, so we dressed her up as a ladybug, and handed out candy to the other small children making their way door-to-door. But this year is different.

We normally don’t go to multiple houses and ring door bells for fun, so I’m not sure what to expect. I don’t know if it would be such a good thing if she exceeds at knocking on doors and begging for items. That could prove problematic in the future.

But hopefully she will enjoy the annual event more than I did as a child.

I shouldn’t say that I don’t like Halloween. This is the beginning of the holiday season and it’s one of my favorite times of the year.

But dressing up and asking people for candy never appealed to me. Actually, eating candy never bothered me as a child (if you knew me during my younger, larger years, you would understand). I hated (and still hate) dressing up in a costume.

Like most issues that adults have, everything started during my childhood.

As most people know, I have two older brothers. Being the youngest of three means that hand-me-down clothes and toys were a given.

I didn’t take well to that notion as a child, so I usually hated wearing the second (and usually) the third-usage of clothing.

But nothing grabbed my disdain more than the cat costume during Halloween.

Every year, while my other friends walked around the block dressed as football players and Ghostbusters, I received the privilege of having my mom safety pin a tail on my backside, to go along with my black shirt, whiskers and cat ears (for the sake of whatever reputation I have left, I’m not attaching a photo).

I also am not a cat lover, so without even knowing it, my parents may have contributed to two (albeit minor) parts of my personality.

No, I don’t lay on a couch every year at Halloween, talking about my dark days as a black cat, but it does provide yearly conversations with my parents about my most-hated wardrobe.

And like all holidays, it doesn’t matter how old you are, or how minor the significance at the time, no one knows what memory may stick.

For me, Halloween is about that dumb cat costume and laughing about it every year with my mom, and running around the neighborhood with my brothers dressed up as Urkel and an overstuffed pumpkin, while my parents followed behind, hoping we didn’t cause trouble.

Since my daughter is only 1, I don’t believe she’ll remember anything from her first trick-or-treating. I may not know what to expect Saturday, but I can guarantee her one thing — she’ll never have to dress up as a cat.

Weekly picks

Games are getting much harder to predict.

I ended up with a decent 17-8 record, upping my overall total to 159-41, but I struggled through the majority of the marque matchups involving Wisconsin, Notre Dame and Oklahoma.

The Badgers ended any possibility for a Big 10 team to go to a national championship game in one of the craziest, best finishes I’ve seen. If you would have bet me after the first few minutes of that game that Michigan State would even be in striking distance of a win, I would have woken up poor Sunday morning.

I sound like a broken record, but Iowa State will struggle to get another win. However, it may be that I’m looking through cardinal and gold glasses, but watch out for a closer-than-expected game Saturday against Texas Tech. I’m not too high on the Red Raiders, but I’m sure they’re getting plenty of accolades from the national bandwagoners right now.

That may play into Iowa State’s hand Saturday, and head coach Paul Rhoads has a knack for knocking off at least one heavy favorite each year.

If the Hawkeyes don’t win by a mercy rule, everyone should be disappointed. Minnesota is awful.

Like always, to see how well you stack up against my weekly picks, log on to and click on College Football Picks Game.

• Picks are in bold: Michigan State at Nebraska; Missouri at Texas A&M; Purdue at Michigan; North Carolina State at Florida State; Northwestern at Indiana; UAB at Louisville; Central Michigan at Akron; Virginia Tech at Duke; Ball State at Western Michigan; Baylor at Oklahoma State; Illinois at Penn State; Georgia vs. Florida; West Virginia at Rutgers; Navy at Notre Dame; Iowa at Minnesota; SMU at Tulsa; Western Kentucky at Louisiana-Monroe; Iowa State at Texas Tech; Ole Miss at Auburn; Kansas at Texas; Mississippi State at Kentucky; North Texas at Arkansas State; Clemson at Georgia Tech; Wisconsin at Ohio State; South Carolina at Tennessee.

Scott Levine is the Associate Editor of the Clinton Herald. He can be reached at

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