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Mike Leach on his favorite Halloween costumes, candy


By Brady Henderson

You can always count on Mike Leach for a colorful quote. There’s just no guarantee that it will have anything to do with football.

So with the Cougars preparing for a Halloween night game against Arizona State at Martin Stadium, Jim Moore and Dave Wyman made sure to ask the Washington State coach about the holiday when he joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s “Wyman, Mike and Moore” this week. Ten minutes later, Leach had touched everything from trick-or-treating logistics to his candy preferences.

Here are the highlights:

“Candy Corn is like the Halloween version of fruit cake,” says Cougars coach Mike Leach. “There’s a reason it’s only offered once a year — because it’s horrible.” (AP)

The Candy Man. Those who stop by Leach’s house on Halloween night won’t find any Candy Corn. He’s not a fan of that nor a few of the alternative items that some people give trick-or-treaters in lieu of candy.

“Well, first of all, dentists that hand out toothbrushes, I don’t like that; total rip off,” Leach said. “Apples, I can get those at home. I never had a problem with change. Some people have problems with change; I never had a problem with that. Candy Corn I hate. Candy Corn is like the Halloween version of fruit cake. There’s a reason it’s only offered once a year – because it’s horrible. Candy Corn’s awful.

“And the stuff in those Halloween wraps that are like rock-hard peanut-butter-tasting something or other, those are awful. Full-fledged candy bars, now that’s a premium. I don’t mean the shorts ones but where they give you like a real candy bar, that’s a biggie.

“… Bubble gum was good if it was the round kind. I liked Jawbreakers and I liked – Tootsie Pops were a little hard to beat. They were kind of standard but it was always a pleasant surprise if it was a Tootsie Pops. Oh, Blow Pops, even a higher premium. … The best of the rest would have to be the Sprees, the little packets of Sprees.”

‘Mobility is key’. Leach said the grim reaper outfit he wore in third grade won the prize for best costume. There was one problem, though.

“When it came to trick or treating it wasn’t as practical as it might be because it was hard to see out of,” he said. “And I lived in Golden, Colo., and when it comes to gathering a volume of candy, mobility is key. I didn’t have the mobility I would have liked because it was like this robe sheet, that whole long robe grim reapers enjoy.”

There was also a vampire costume that had some versatility, allowing Leach to be Batman if he wanted to.

“… my mom dyed a sheet and made a vampire outfit and had a really cool vampire cape. And the cape even had the little bat divots at the bottom of it, like their wings, and I was like the kid on “Calvin and Hobbes”. I was like Calvin, where when I put my outfit on my personality would change. Since I was a vampire or Batman – depending on the scenario I had worked out in my mind – obviously there had to be criminals. Typically that was my younger sister and brother and occasionally the neighbor kids. And so I would either have to fight crime or attack victims if I was a vampire.

“So that was a heck of a deal. I still have the cape somewhere. It doesn’t fit anymore.”

The princess vs. the ghoul. One of the many coaching stops Leach made before coming to Washington State was at Kentucky, where he spent two seasons the Wildcats’ offensive coordinator. On one unusually snowy Halloween night in Lexington, Leach was supervising as a group that included his daughter Janeen, one of her friends and two boys were trick-or-treating.

“So I’m kind of at a distance, about half a block away, but a ways away,” he said. “… They started making fun of her friend – the two mouthy kids. That kid had – I can’t remember if it was a club. It might have been a sickle. I think he had a sickle or something – and he’s dressed up as a ghost or just some bad dude.

“So Janeen and her friend are up there trick or treating, getting the candy. The lady’s at the door, and this kid starts mouthing off, and it’s kind of like she’d heard all she needed to hear. She grabbed a hold of that thing in that kid’s hand and started beating him over the head with it, stuffs his face in the snow and smears it around in the snow while that poor lady’s sitting on the porch as the children are engaged in a little Halloween porch-clearing brawl.

“Anyways, I think they trick-or-treated and that kid didn’t say much to them after that – him and his buddy. That was pretty wild. And she was probably dressed up like a princess or something like that, as you might imagine, so the princess attacked the ghoul.”

Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.