LEWISTON — Lewiston’s popular master of Halloween, the generous giver of giant candy bars, is outdoing himself again.
“This Halloween, I am going big or I am going home,” Peter Geiger, editor of the Farmers’ Almanac, said Monday. Actually, he’ll be at his Brentwood Avenue home Friday night, along with his troop of volunteers, to hand out 18 kinds of big candy bars.
By Monday, Geiger had bought 4,000 giant- or king-sized bars, an increase from last year’s horde of 3,000 bars. In 2012, he passed out 2,500.
And this year, to ensure safety, he’s hiring two off-duty Lewiston police officers to direct traffic on the Pond Road.
“I’m spending $948 just on Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Kit Kat bars,” the two most popular candies in his lineup. Both the bars and peanut butter cups are Hershey products, the prices of which jumped 8 percent this year, Geiger said. He didn’t want to say exactly what he’s spending this year, but did say each bar is approaching $1 each, which means he’s spending nearly $4,000 on candy.
When you spend more on Halloween candy than many households spend on groceries for five months, you notice an eight percent cost hike. And that budget doesn’t include expenses for new decorations at his haunted house, which loops through his modest home and out to his garage. Four volunteers staff the haunted house, which was created out of necessity, Geiger said. There’s no way 1,000-plus costumed trick-or-treaters can come in and out his front door smoothly.
Also this year, he plans to erect a tent in his front yard if it rains, for the comfort of the line of trick-or-treaters.
Heading up his volunteers is Chris Pomerleau, who Geiger calls “vice president of candy procurement.” Pomerleau is a friend who helps make the magic happen, the candy, the decorations and keeping the candy table refilled as children come through.
Geiger’s been handing out big bars for more than 20 years. In the Geiger Halloween tradition, trick-or-treaters who know the secret password get three big bars. Those who don’t get one. Four thousand bars should handle about 1,333 trick-or-treaters. The password will be revealed on radio Friday WMME (92.3 FM) from 6:30 to 9 a.m. Friday.
Not everyone learns the password, and some young trick-or-treaters are so small a giant bar doesn’t fit in their little plastic pumpkin. “So I fill with a pile of small bars,” Geiger said.
Halloween is Geiger’s favorite holiday. He said in past stories he likes giving out generous amounts of candy in rememberance of the thrills he and his brother, Gene, had as boys scouting the best trick-or-treating routes.
Geiger is well-known in the community and New England as co-owner and executive vice president of Geiger, which produces the Farmers’ Almanac. He’s often interviewed nationally about the weather forecasts made in the almanac. Geiger is also well known for his involvement in education, promoting student aspirations, and serves on the state Board of Education.
But when summer starts to fade to fall in his hometown, people often greet Geiger with a smile and think Halloween. “I can’t begin to tell you how often I am asked for the password.”
That includes Jim Handy, chairman of the Lewiston School Committee, who at a recent committee meeting asked, “What’s the password?”