Tonight, we participated in the annual ghoulish ritual of distributing glucose, sucrose, and fructose to a disguised cohort of munchkins and preadolescents (and a few candy-grubbing high schoolers and one parent with a bag of his own!). As the evening progressed, the wife and I made multiple observations, each of which I considered transforming into a standalone blog entry. Instead, I have pooled them together for one uber-Halloween post. Enjoy.
Bwa ha ha ha!
Our neighbor’s grandchild was clearly new to this whole trick-or-treating business. At the tender age of four, she was costumed as a pretty, pretty princess: dress, tiara, pumpkin-shaped candy receiving container. When she arrived, her grandparents started her off with some seed candy from their stash. After some cautious hesitation on her part, her parents finally convinced her that it was time to branch out to other houses in the neighborhood. Ours was a natural first hit.
She took a few steps toward our house and froze in her tracks. My wife stood poised at the end of our sidewalk, smiling and Kit Kat bar in hand. Princess would not move. Her parents grabbed her hand and pulled her toward my wife. Her eyes filled with tears. “No,” she cried, resisting her urging parents.
“Walk up to her and say, ‘Trick or treat,’” her mother coaxed.
“No, she can’t have my candy,” the girl replied.
My wife, a little confused, replied, “I don’t want to take candy from you. I want to give candy to you.”
These words had a miraculous shyness-curing effect. Without further ado, Princess rushed to my wife and said the magic words, and my wife dropped the Kit Kat bar into her pumpkin basket.
The girl (newly enthused about her evening’s prospects) bounded ahead of her parents to the next doorstep. “Trick or treat!!!” she shouted.
As she sprinted down the street from one house to the next, the wife and I had a good chuckle at her naïve misunderstanding of the night’s proceedings. She had thought that the costume-clad kids were supposed to give their candy to the adults lining the streets...
...which, come to think of it, wouldn’t be such a bad idea. I would be supportive of a pilot trial of Reverse Halloween (call it Treat-or-Trick), whereby children march up and down the streets handing out candy (or cheeseburgers or money or McDonald’s Monopoly game pieces) to the adults in the neighborhood.
Watson, our pride and joy, suffers from an irrational fear of large men and small children. Nonetheless, we tortured him this evening by keeping him outside with us as parades of small children, sometimes accompanied by large men, passed by our front door, occasionally pausing for us to drop treats into their treat receptacles.
We’ve learned that Watson experiences an irrational and overriding affinity for terrifying masks, even when mounted on the heads of large men and small children. Turns out that if you are a large man or small child evoking great fear in the loins of our humble non-hypoallergenic faux labradoodle, all you need to do to win his affection is don a Frankenstein or blood-stained hockey mask.
One young man arrived at our doorstep, appearing uncostumed to my untrained eye. As a matter of principle, I feel it is incumbent upon me as a perpetuator of the Halloween tradition, to, at the very least, challenge those who presume to take my candy without going to the effort to amuse or horrify me with their get-up.
Me to kid: Where’s your costume?
Kid to me (pointing to his gold chain): Can’t you see my bling?
Me to kid: Of course. Have some candy.
Most of the kids who stopped by tonight were reasonably polite, initiating the exchange with a cordial “Trick or treat”. My wife or I would continue the pleasantries by commenting on their costumes or the weather or the rising price of crude. We'd then proceed to drop one or two (if I was the distributor) or three or four (if my wife was the distributor) pieces of candy in the child’s bag or basket or pillowcase or hollow leg. This would be followed by a (sometimes parent-induced) whiny “thank you” (the apparent whininess of the departing youngster may in fact be an artifact of the Doppler effect).
We encountered the occasional youth with an oversized sense of entitlement. One such charming and mature prepubescent Halloweener arrived at our doorstep and demanded that my wife “Put it in! Put it in!” My wife, taken aback by his demeanor, paused, and engaged the boy in a stare down. He, of course, had no times for such silly games. “Hurry!” he shouted. After some thought, my wife reluctantly complied (we didn’t want wake up tomorrow to find our cars decorated with toilet paper or worse), but she only gave him one piece of candy.
Finally, as the soon-to-be-sugar-comatose came and went, we saw some truly fun and impressive costumes. I considered taking pictures of my favorite costumes and posting them to this blog, when I realized that that the taking and online distribution of pictures of other people’s children would in fact be illegal and downright creepy.
Thus, what follows is a description of three of my four favorite costumes from tonight.
The biohazard scientist costume, of course, resonated quite profoundly with my own tragically clumsy scientific leanings. The child sported green hair and a lab coat mottled with bright, fluorescent green biohazardous waste stains. Just another day on the job for an average Joe such as myself.
Next, the seven (or so)-year-old dressed as a birthday party table—a clever variation on the birthday gift box costume. The waddling boy was encumbered by a giant cardboard box that was shorter than him by about a head-and-a-half. The box was decorated with birthday plates and napkins and a birthday cake, and the boy expended considerable energy traipsing from one house to the next (let alone around the block). He earned his candy.
I also appreciated the angel who had lost her wings. Her father walked immediately behind her, holding the detached wings to her back, flapping them occasionally.
As for my favorite costume… this one I can post online. I paid for it.