I remember what it was like: the anticipation, crisp fall air, crunching leaves, masks that limit
vision, the nauseating smell of greasy costume makeup, and the cherished costume hidden underneath that cursed winter coat that “okay mom” made me wear. Damn the Midwest weather.
Today is of course the national holiday otherwise known as Begging for Candy Day, and I am prepared wth a giant bag of the stuff that was purchased at a warehouse store. My house is festooned with two giant spiders, signaling to the guttersnipes that I am a willing participant in this bizarre annual ritual.
The village I live in designates the hours that these underage vagabonds are allowed to panhandle. This year Halloween falls on a Saturday, so sponging hours are 3-8, much longer than when the holiday falls on a week night. A bit ridiculous too if you ask me, after all this is not a paid holiday for me, but I am going to do this because as I said I remember what it was like, and I am a humanitarian.
Based on experience of previous years, I know that the costumes worn by those who beg early will be well thought out and range from cute to cuter. The tiniest harassers will be escorted to the door by the hand, and like a ventriloquist with his dummy, the voice projecting the proper words, “trick or treat”, and “thank you”, will come from just behind the star of the show.
The next group will still be short, but their guardians will be several feet back, clearly visible and watching the proceedings.
The afternoon will progress, and the parade of costumes will continue on with the children getting progressively bigger, and the costumes becoming progressively less thought out. When the clock strikes eight, the “children” will have become six foot tall thugs wearing masks with no costume. I suppose the costume theme at that hour could be called gang member/ home invader.
My son is fifteen, and I haven’t seen the top of his head in a two years. If he chose to trick or treat, he would now be described as: “a big guy at the door”. I know for myself, the charm in trick or treating has left the building when I fear for my safety opening my door. I have a suggestion for the older kids who want to participate in this tradition of intimidation. Why not dress like a traveling salesman from the 1950’s, the milk man, a mail man or an electrician, how about a 1950’s housewife with a measuring cup in hand who needs some flour? I think you might have more doors open for you if you don’t look like the suspect featured on the morning news- in film clip of a convenience store robbery captured by a hidden security camera.
When my little monsters were younger, they would come home with pillowcases full of candy. If I ran out of candy to pass out, I’d take from them….they never noticed the deficit. They had enough candy to make themselves sick every night until Valentine’s Day, at which point they would restock their supply. I use to threaten to take the candy away to donate it to a senior center…as if any 90 year old would eat gummy eye balls given the opportunity, and the teeth.
As I said, I am a willing participant in this ritual, but I am not a saint. I work early on most days, and I find the doorbell ringing which incites barking and chaos among my dogs annoying after a while. I have my limitations. At 8pm this is not fun for me anymore. Now indulge me in this thought… What if at 8 pm, I put the candy away, and start passing out items I plan on donating to good will: old books, outgrown rain boots, etc. perhaps canned food. I have lots that I could part with, and this would save me a trip to goodwill, it might also discourage repeat customers.
A co-worker recently shared a story about her her 6’2″ firefighter husband. One Halloween after throwing back a couple of pints, he put on a hoodie and a Jason mask, and walked over to the neighbors house with an empty bag. The neighbor, not knowing who the trick or treater was, said: “You’re a little big to be trick or treating”, but gave him candy and shut the door. About twenty minutes later her husband said “I’m going back”. This time the neighbor said “Okay kid, weren’t you here already? This is it. Don’t come back.” About twenty minutes later he went back for the third time. The neighbor lost his temper, and just before fists went flying the Jason mask came off and the hilarity of the situation was enjoyed by all. If Norman Rockwell had painted a Haloween tableau, this would be it… an alcohol fueled prank: harassment taken to the brink of violence, followed by relief and laughter…what could be better?
The Daily Post, October 31, 2015, Daily Prompt: Trick or Treat~ Let’s imagine it’s Halloween, and you just ran out of candy. If the neighborhood kids (or anyone else, really) were to truly scare you, what trick would they have to subject you to?<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/trick-or-trick/”>Trick or Trick</a>