Trick or treating in the Dan Campbell household growing up sounds exactly like you would expect

October 29, 2021

Dan Campbell is tougher than titanium nails. He made his NFL living catching balls across the middle and stepping in the path of onrushing linebackers. He survived a winless season and lived to tell the tale. As a coach, he (briefly) repopularized the Oklahoma Drill, pledged to bite opponent’s knee caps, anointed himself a true alpha, subsisted primarily on motor oil, and even soft-pitched getting his own pet lion. So how did Campbell get so dang tough? To the surprise of absolutely no one, by trick or treating with his old man.

Hoo boy, there’s a lot to unpack there, but here are the bullet points.

+ Grew up in Nowheresville, Texas. Had to drive “five, eight miles” to get to town (population of 400 people) to trick or treat.

+ Dad hated Halloween because he had been working all day. Made hatred abundantly clear. Drove them every year anyway.

+ No fancy Halloween buckets permitted. Paper bags only.

+ Was instructed to run house to house instead of returning to truck. “Better than wasting gas!” Campbell says.

+ Dad would spend the evening shouting “hurry up!” from said truck at regular intervals.

Honestly, not an altogether different Halloween experience than yours truly had trick or treating in a rural New Hampshire town roughly three times the size of Campbell’s. Campbell, however, grew up to be a guy who headbutts other guys for living. I ended up a writer. All of which is to say, past Halloween trauma doesn’t entirely explain how Dan Campbell became Dan Campbell. It does, however, help to shed a little jack o’ lantern light on the man behind the myth within the legend.