I saw it coming years ago. Halloween is a measured tightrope stretched between what we remember as fun and the risk of some sociopath killing us. There…I said it. Everybody else is thinking it, too.
The worst of it started in Deer Park in 1974 when that guy killed his son with cyanide in the giant pixie stix just to collect on the “giant” insurance policy he had taken out on him. Before then, we had heard of people putting razor blades in apples, but it was only urban legend cautionary tales to us. Up until that time it was a carefree night of safe (nearly), harmless (mostly) fun for kids (but not exclusively). We never used to have to tramp around with our parents riding drag, carrying four-cell flashlights and bottles of Gatorade.
Last night was the big night for all the children and would-been children. My youngest and her best friend decided to go as conjoined twins. Mine is blonde, slightly built, wears glasses, and her friend is brunette, slightly built, wears glasses. Mine wore dark slap sandals and the other twin wore white ones. Both sported gray capri sweats and they shared a single giant shirt that read “I’ve Got An Attitude”. Quite the creative solution. As a matter of fact, they got more comments last night than any other costume that we encountered in our foraging.
The other half of our little entourage consisted of my twin’s family; mother, father and year-old baby sister. The baby was in a tiny Dalmatian costume, and she was being pulled in her own custom wagon. She rode there about half of the time, the other half she was being carried by Dad, until the pain at the insertion of his bicep became unbearable. I know that pain well, as do any of the other dads who may be reading this. Sometimes it takes twenty minutes to be able to straighten your arm completely.
We waded through the tide of children dressed up like fairies and princesses and demons and storm troopers (Star Wars, not Nazi) and ninjas and werewolves and vampires and zombies and skeletons and Spiderman (men?),
regular and black, and pirates and witches and policewomen and firefighters and who-knows-what-else. As they all scrambled from one lighted and decorated porch to the next, phalanxes of parents inched their way down the streets and sidewalks clutching flashlights and younger children.
Of course, not all who were dressed up were in the pre-teen set. There were the ever-present adolescents dressed in slouchy cargo shorts and torn camo shirts stalking around looking for free treats. Of course, when they come to my house looking like that, I make them earn whatever treat they get. The doorbell rings, I open it, and slightly grinning teens simply shove their bags toward me. I just look at them, and finally ask, “What do you say…?”. “Uh, trickrtreet.” Very unconvincing. Then I make them say it with verve and pep, not like they are reading it off of a script in English class. When they comply, I give them candy.
We also encountered several “adults” who seemed to include Jack Daniels and Jim Beam in their Halloween entourage. One group of gypsies seemed pretty authentic, save for the bleached hair, cigarettes and Southeast Texas nasal twang. It appeared to me that there were some paper bags INSIDE their paper bags, if you know what I mean. They were older than me and I can only hope that they feel all right today.
The night ended fairly quickly, from my perspective. When I was little, we used to be out for HOURS, sometimes in good years, finding it necessary to make a stop at home to get a new Weingarten bag for more candy. And popcorn balls, caramel apples, oranges and yes, even raisins in the little boxes. Last night, I overheard one of the little spooks snort derisively, “Don’t go to THAT house, they’re trying to give away RAISINS!”. Greedy little candy elitists.
As we rolled toward home, I asked my co-dad what he thought Halloween would be like in twelve years, when his youngest is in junior high, like our twins are now. He replied, “She’ll probably be pulling ME in the wagon…”
Heck, I would’ve accepted a ride right then.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Posted by aA at 9:02 AM