Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Boo To You, Too

Ah, Hallowe'en. It's time, once again, for the letters to the editor condemning the holiday as a tool of the Devil. Be that as it may, it is not the reason that I opt out of the celebration. It's because I've been there, and done that for years and years and years.

It was pretty easy when the children were toddlers. We took them to our closest neighbors' houses, then to the homes of a couple of friends, and to Grandma's, all before dark. Then, it was home, dinner, inventory the candy and off to bed, while daddy and mama toasted the holiday and put our feet up.

Then, the kids started school and Hallowe'en became work. I don't know whatever possessed me to agree to be the chairman of the Hallowe'en Carnival/Chili Supper at my kids' grade school. Worse, how pathetically desperate for approval does one have to be to agree to do it two years in a row?

The carnival was usually held on Friday night before Hallowe'en, and it's no testament to our intelligence that it didn't occur to us that it meant celebrating twice. Nowadays, the schools have their carnivals, the ones who bother to have them at all, on Hallowe'en, except when it falls on Sunday.

A few Hallowe'ens stand out in my memory for their hilarity.

One year, one lone girl came to the door. Jay answered it and said, "Hi, Lee! Hey, it's Lee! Her mom's in the car." So, DJ grabbed a beer from the fridge, handed it to Lee and said, "Give this to your mom, heheheh." As they drove away, we heard a strange voice holler, "Thank you!" DJ said, "Jay, I thought you said that was Lee C". Jay said, "No it was Lee A." Oops.

A friend of mine tried to palm off kittens one year, and promtly got them all back, She said it had seemed like a good idea at the time.

Another year, we hosted a costume party for the members of a club I was in. Kell and Jay wanted to see all the costumes before they had to go to bed, so we let them anwer the door and greet everyone. We began to rethink that idea when our friend, R, arrived dressed only in war paint, sandals and a loin cloth. But, the one that sent the kids to bed voluntarily was H. He came as the Grim Reaper, complete with white face paint, cowl and a scythe. Scared the bejeezus out of Jay.

There came a time when I lived alone, with the kids off to college and DJ just off, and I realized that I no longer had to participate in Hallowe'en. What a relief. So, I started a new one-person family custom. Hiding.

So, this year, as the sun sinks slowly in the west, you can find me with all the lights out and the blinds closed, crouching in my recliner, reading in the glow of a small flashlight, snacking on my favorite Hallowe'en candy, murmuring, "Trick or Treat", and listening to the patter of little feet , and later, bigger feet, as they pass by my door.

And there, in the dark, I'll smile.


kenju said...

Oh, Betty, do I ever agree!! I've been there and done all that of which you speak, and now I prefer to pretend I am not home. We will also be crouching in the dark with TV down low!

Nancy said...


How I wish we could snuggle in on Halloween and not have to answer the door 22 times to kids who live on my street.

But,you see, we are the oldest people in the neighborhood and as such we have to be especially nice to the young ones.

Wouldn't want to be known as the "BOO RADLEYS" of Plymouth Street,would we?

Kell said...

This was such a wonderful post. I think it's one of my favorites.

And that Grim Reaper scared the bejeezus out of me, too!

patsy said...

you will have to agree you had a few laughs.
hide if you want it's ok.

Sister--Three said...

I like to just sit in my chair. Larry want to dress up and scare everyone that comes to the door. He is almost 6 feet 10 inches tall so in a monster mask he really can send a little one down the road fast.

Annie said...

It's funny to think of you inside with all the lights out. I've given in to that desire to be quiet and left alone on Halloween evening a few times but the last few years I've celebrated right along with the kids coming to the door. I wear a little half-mask and greet them with a big HELLO, comment on their costumes and offer them a full-sized candy bar. I've built a bit of a reputation for being "the house that gives out good candy".

Grannymar said...

I got as far as the kittens bit and can't stop laughing!

I would have died if Elly brought home a kitten to me.

Happy hiding!

John said...

Happy Halloween Betty.
As I don't live in America, I'm just off to stick a 'NO trick or treat' notice on my door in the hope that the local hooligans will stay away.
Have fun.

qofd said...

Ugh. I feel your pain with the whole planning crap for small kids thing.

Have fun hiding. I hope to do the same within the next decade.

CarmenSinCity said...

I love the new tradition of hiding. I just go to a meeting, that way I'm not even home. I didn't buy any candy this year, except the stuff that I brought to work and put in my candy jar and I'm actually eating it for breakfast right now!

wordgirl said...

Hiding. What a lovely idea. As much as I love Halloween...I think your idea sound oddly refreshing.

gawilli said...

Our Halloween is over now and last of the goblins have gone home. Having been in this house and neighborhood 50 years ago, and now, it has been interesting to watch the changes that have taken place. About ten years ago we had only a handful of kids. As many of the older families have moved away, and younger ones have moved in, we are up to about a hundred kids or so. This year I noticed how diverse we have become.

Willi loves Halloween and went through three different get-ups while he handed out candy. I couldn't get by with turning out the light - I still have a big kid in the house.

Hope your evening was a good one!

Joan said...

You have definitely paid your Halloween dues and have earned the right to play Hide No Seek with the little creatures walking through your neighborhood.

Newt said...

That was one of your best posts ever. I loved it!!!

Happy Hidey Halloween!

Tink said...

Someone tried to giveaway kittens? Now there's an idea. Give away the things you don't want anymore! Can you imagine?

"Here kid. Have a book on... anatomy. Would your little sister like this candle holder or that slightly worn area rug instead?"

Claude said...

I love the kittens story! It made me laugh. Too bad it didn't work ;)