HALLOWEEN: MORE TRICKS THAN TREATS!
I don’t mean to come across like the Grinch Who Stole Halloween, but I confess that I am dreading tomorrow night. As an old curmudgeon, I now see Halloween as more a night for tricks than treats.
I didn’t always feel this way. When I was a child, Halloween was the second most exciting night of the year, the most exciting obviously being Christmas Eve. Each October 31 after the sunset, I would march around my neighborhood dressed in a scary outfit. One year I was Frankenstein. Another year I was Dracula. And then on one particularly scary Halloween night, I dressed as a Certified Public Accountant. This terrified my entire neighborhood.
Dressed as a ghoul or goblin, I would then attack the front porches of every house in the neighborhood, and ring the doorbell. When the happy home owners would appear, I and my friends would scream something clever like, “Trick or treat! Smell my feet! Give me something good to eat!”
And then my generous neighbors would fill up my trick-or-treat bag with Snickers bars, Almond Joys, Butterfingers, Baby Ruths, and enough other cavity-producing treats to keep my dentist in business for the rest of the year.
When my own children were little, I again experienced the joy of Halloween. When I was a child, my friends and I would conduct our Halloween expeditions without adult supervision. But by the time my children came around in a less safe age, I felt an obligation to accompany them on their Halloween neighborhood expeditions, keeping myself at a watchful distance as they collected their treasure trove of candy.
And given my lifelong addiction to Snickers bars, I also enacted what I called the “Daddy’s Halloween Night Snickers Tax.” When my children and I would return from their trick-or-treating, I would require the kids to go through their trick-or-treat bags and each produce for me several Snickers bars.
But my kids are grown now, the nest is empty, and I no longer snicker on Halloween night.
Halloween has now become for me an evening of vigilance, as I try to protect my home from tricks such as smashing pumpkins and mailboxes.
On Halloween night, little trick-or-treaters still come to my house early in the evening, and I welcome them. They remind me of me 50 years ago or my children 20 years ago. It is great fun to welcome them, fill their little bags with candy, and I don’t even invoke the Snickers tax.
But as Halloween evening wears on, the trick-or-treaters become older and feistier.
Around 9:00 p.m. on Halloween night, I try to close down the Halloween candy shop. I lock the door and turn off the front porch light. But this does not dissuade the older trick-or-treaters from ringing my doorbell, and then banging on my door when I refuse to answer.
I sometimes peak out the window and yell, “It’s late. We’re closed now. Please go home. Thank you.” Unfortunately, this only seems to make the older trick-or-treaters mad. And that’s when the tricks start.
A couple of Halloweens ago when I refused to open my front door, I suddenly heard a loud clatter at the end of my driveway. The angry trick-or-treaters, or in this case the trick-or-trickers, were smashing my mailbox to the ground. On other occasions, disappointed trick-or-trickers have smashed the pumpkins on my front porch. I actually prefer this trick as opposed to the smashing of my mailbox, since I don’t have to repair a smashed pumpkin.
Because of these unfortunate incidences, I now have to stay up late on Halloween night to make sure that the older ghosts and goblins don’t throw a pumpkin through my window.
And so tomorrow night, I’ll be dressed as a lawyer, although I admit that can be a pretty scary outfit. I will spend the first part of the evening passing Snicker bars out to the precious little goblins who ring my doorbell.
And then, I’ll spend the late hours of the evening with my faithful Beagles, Atticus and Scout. We will peer out my front window, and when the older trick-or-trickers walk up my driveway, Atticus and Scout will howl, and hopefully scare them away.
But for old time sake, I’m probably going to eat at least one Snickers bar.