“Trick-or-Treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat!”
As Halloween approaches, I am always reminded of my childhood.
Growing up, my mother would always go full-out for Halloween. We would decorate the house with cobwebs, witches, orange mini-lights, and of course, our life-size dummy Ferdinand. Ferdinand, for some reason, was named after my mom’s grandfather, Ferdinand Burt Mathiasmeier (say that three times fast). 
My mom always helped us figure out our costumes well in advance; either making them by hand, or some years, purchasing the hottest trend (My Little Pony was big in 1987). We would also get in the Halloween spirit by taking haunted hay rack rides or visiting haunted houses. Sometimes we would even be characters in said haunted houses. 
But given all of that, if I had to choose my absolute favorite part of Halloween, it would be eating chili before we went trick-or-treating. 
As far back as I can remember, every Halloween was always frigid cold. I remember having to cover up my Fly-Girl costume with a huge winter coat because it had snowed the day before. This was major fashion suicide for a 5th grader. If J-Lo would have seen me, she would have looked the other way! Oh the horror! 
Okay, where was I?
Ah, yes…the chili.
My mom, being the completely brilliant woman she is, knew that my brothers and I would freeze our tookus off if we didn’t have something warm in our bellies before we went trick-or-treating. I still remember coming home from school and the house smelling of chili powder and garlic. My mother would stand over the stove and stir a big pot of piping hot chili. It smelled like heaven.
But before we could eat chili, my mom would help us with our costumes. She would usually paint one of our faces with blood (every mother’s dream of course) or finish sewing a pivotal part of the outfit. The great thing about my mom, she never let us down. Our costumes were always fierce. 


When we were done donning ears, blood, teeth, or tu-tu, we would take a group shot by Ferdinand and then it was time for dinner. 
I remember sitting at our oval kitchen table in our costumes trying to devour the chili through all of our makeup. I always tried to hurry and eat because that meant we could start trick-or-treating sooner. But the chili was always too hot! 
Now that I am married, on Halloween, as on many a fall evening, I get to inhale the fragrance of Mr. B’s chili. Spicier than my mom’s, and definitely worthy of a Halloween send-off.



Mr. B’s Chili
Serves 10 
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes 
2 lbs ground beef
4 garlic cloves, chopped
3 medium green bell peppers, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
2 medium spiced cans chili beans, drained
1 mild spiced can chili beans, drained
2 stewed tomato cans 
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons ground pepper
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon celery seed
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon cumin
sour cream
cheddar cheese
Preheat a large pot to medium heat and saute garlic with onions and green peppers. Once vegetables have softened, add ground the beef. Cook beef until it is no longer pink. Add all spices.Add tomatoes and beans, bring to simmer. Once bubbling turn heat back to low, and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Serve with your favorite toppings and enjoy!