Every year I go Linus. Not Full Linus, but partial Linus. Just as adults gave me candy at Halloween, I look forward with great enthusiasm to the chance to perpetuate the tradition and have fun with the kids. I put on an ogre mask and some sort of hat (this time a fishing hat from Puerto Rico), and speak only in monster growls: bluuueeeagh, blluuuaaaaagh! I tone it down slightly for the real little ones, but most of the kids think it’s great fun. “Thank you!” “Blueeeeaaagh!”
Unfortunately, correct trick-or-treating (which involves the children coming to your door and saying ‘trick or treat’), is on the wane. It’s being replaced by the bubble-wrapped-kid option of trunk-or-treat, taking away 100% of the adventure and 90% of the fun. Can’t have Precious learning to take care of him or herself while walking around in the dark, because as we know, the density of lurking pervs is about four per square yard. Those not brutalized by the lurking per patrol will all be given a razor-blade-loaded bit of candy by the ten psychotic homeowners per block. Step outside the bubble wrap, certain death.
No wonder so many of them can’t handle adult life when they reach it. They never got the opportunity to learn or adventure.
Anyway, these days I feel much like Linus, with my bowl of candy and my lit pumpkin clearly displayed, lights bright so it will be obvious someone is home and would probably hand out candy. One year we got zero. Three is about average. This year, three trick-or-treating groups, and one of them produced the funniest thing that has happened to me on Halloween in living memory.
We have some great neighbors to the north and west, Mary and Bill. (We have great neighbors in all directions, but these are the droids we want.) They have two daughters and a son: Kate, Nathan, Sarah. Kate is now married with an adorable one-year-old daughter; Nathan’s giving mice diabetes in med school. Sarah I used to hire in high school to help with work; now she’s out in the working world, doing well. Over time we have all become friends. Kate, hubby Thomas, Sarah and little Clara stopped by, kind of a tradition, Clara in a tiny Princess Leia outfit with the danishes hat for her head. I did my usual thing: bluueeagh! Little Clara smiled happily at the noisy monster in the fishing hat. Of course, I invited everyone in, and removed my hat and mask to beam friendly greetings at the tiny Princess Leia.
Faced with my true countenance, smile and voice, the child bawled out a wail of shocked disgust. Right on cue.
I actually had to lean against a wall to compose myself, I was laughing so hard. So were my visitors, except for the tiniest one, who glared at me and wept frustration throughout the visit while parents, aunt and neighbor chatted.
Someday it will be a hilarious story to tell her, when I am near retirement and she is a young teen.