Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

On the way to work, I saw an unsmiling clown with multi-colored frizzled hair driving a pickup and Catwoman (complete with tail and ears) get out of a Honda Civic. I saw a few other stranger sights, but realized on second thought that the people might not have even realized it was Halloween and were just dressing up as they abnormally would.

Some individuals of the latter group were enough to trigger nightmares tonight.

My neighbors and I are not sure how many kids will be on our street later today. Last year, I think we had a grand total of … well, none. We all vowed that if we buy any candy for this year, it would be stuff we liked in case we were forced to eat it ourselves later from the lack of visitors to our doors. That was the grand sacrifice we were all willing to make, and have kindly offered to share our goodies with each other if we must.

Halloween being so quiet is such a change from another city where I lived.

At my house there, I had neighbors who decorated their house with so many decorations that it served as a beacon to attract kids from miles around, and at least a couple hundred kids would also pound on my door and demand to have pillowcases filled with treats. Or else, they threatened — I didn’t dare ask what the “or else” meant.

I took the threats very seriously from the teenagers who carried pillowcases and didn’t bother wearing any costumes or makeup — or the ones who wore pantyhose over their heads and looked like they had just robbed a bank. When the same groups of teenagers would return three or four times, well past 11 p.m. and long after they developed several runs in their pantyhose stocking faces, I did what any other sane adult would do.

I shut off all the lights in the house and hid in the basement in the dark until morning could save me.

Back on the farm, my parents tell me they have remained on par with other years in the amount of trick-or-treaters they get to their door.

A grand total of … well, none.

Oh sure, there were years I recall our family optimistically waiting to see if anyone would drive into our driveway with bundled up goblins, cowboys and superheroes. There were years where we actually saw a few of them in our yard.

Usually it was at the end of October that the first real snowstorm hit, so no matter how much time and effort went into kids’ costumes, they all looked the same by the time they knocked on people’s doors: like bundled up little Michelin men.

But because our farm was off the beaten path (gravel roads was more our path), fewer kids would show up each year.

It finally reached the point where my father declared we should no longer waste money purchasing any Halloween treats.

Instead, should any kids come, he would give them a dollar bill each.

In the first couple years after the declaration, he gave away only a dollar or two each Halloween.

But now they’ve had several years where Dad hasn’t even had to bother taking out his wallet. No vehicles have bothered to find our house on the prairies.

Oh well. The Halloween holiday gives us a good excuse to eat a lot of pumpkin goodies, watch Charlie Brown classic cartoons on TV, and incorporate mini-chocolate bars as part of our regular diet until at least Thanksgiving.

Happy Halloween, everyone.

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