Friday, October 30, 2009

Tricks and treats

When our daughter was little, we would follow her around our dark neighborhood as she gathered about 20 pounds of candy in a pillowcase. We’d lived in the same house since she was two, so she developed a long timer’s knowledge of the neighborhood, knowing and remembering the best-decorated houses and the houses with the best candy.
I was jealous of the neighbor who went all out, piping creepy organ music through external speakers and setting up an entire yard of plasterboard tombstones. I was impressed by the couple who dressed up like scarecrows and sat, motionless, on their front porch, jumping up whenever a group of trick-or-treaters approached. And the entire neighborhood was awed by the family who gave out “FULL-SIZED CANDY BARS.”
So one year, we went for it. We decorated the front porch with sticky plastic spider webs; brought out the strobe light (left over from our rock ‘n’ roll days – that’s another story), and played spooky music on a CD player in our garage.
We thought it was the high point of our Halloween attempts, but the lights caused some of the parents to stumble drunkenly in the driveway, and the littlest kids were a bit scared by the music.
The next year, we took a new approach. We kept the strobe light packed away and bought FULL-SIZED CANDY BARS. We had done it – become legends among trick-or-treaters. Word of our generous treats traveled fast, and costumed children flocked to our door in large, boisterous groups.
We had tried to balance our supply according to demand but we were woefully under stocked, and after we ran out, the doorbell kept ringing. We raided the cupboards and came up with tiny boxes of raisins. We raided the change jar and started tossing quarters into the bags of those who still came.
But our shot at becoming a neighborhood legend was over. We were instead branded as “the house where they give you raisins.”
The next year and every year after that, we’ve handed out those woefully unimpressive snack-sized candy bars. No matter how many we buy, we run out. We aren’t about to improvise (we still remember the raisin debacle). So we are forced to turn off the yard light, close the blinds and wait it out.
This year, two feet of snow blanket the ground. Trick-or-treaters are going to have to work hard to fill their bags and I’m thinking it might be time to impress the crowds once again.
I wonder where that strobe light is.

1 comment:

  1. May God have His arms around you always.