by Mike McHugh
This year, we’re taking a vacation over Halloween. We’re paying for it with the money we saved not having to buy candy.
Our neighborhood must be the most popular one in the country for trick-or-treaters. Families from all over bring their kids here on Halloween night. Last year, I swear I saw a few cars with Ohio tags parked on the street.
Where I live, it’s no use sitting in the house with your door closed on Halloween night. If you do, your doorbell would be ringing worse than your smoke alarm after tossing a bag of leaves in the fireplace.
So my wife and I typically just sit at the end of our driveway on Halloween with enough candy to keep every dentist in town busy for the next decade. As the kids file past in their costumes, we dish it out like you would mashed potatoes to an army mess line. The exception is that your average army mess line doesn’t typically include zombies.
If my neighborhood is any indication, zombie costumes are all the rage these days, and many of them look quite realistic. Before embarking on their rounds, the kids must spend more time in makeup than the cast of a Star Wars movie. If an actual zombie apocalypse ever took place on Halloween night, no one would be apt to notice anything out of the ordinary.
Yes, the days are gone where a kid can just cut a few eyeholes out of a bed sheet throw it over his head. It’s just as well, too, as the eyeholes never seemed to be in the right place for the eyes of any living thing native to our solar system. As a result, kids would spend most of the evening staggering about the street, walking into utility poles and the like. Only by sheer luck would they find themselves on somebody’s front porch to score a packet of Sweet Tarts.
Halloween night in Yankee Land was nothing like it is where I now live. Back there, our doorbell never rang. It made me wonder if there was a child sex offender out there who registered using my address. Or maybe it was that our candy didn’t measure up to what people were handing out at the more upscale houses a few blocks away. My wife and I would stand there, looking at our still-full bowl of Dum-Dum pops—you know, the ones that last all of three licks—and wonder if they were giving away X-Boxes over there.
I must say that I prefer catering to the hordes on Halloween like we do these days. This is despite the fact that we have to order our candy directly from the factory, where they schedule a special production run for the purpose. My wife loves to get in the act, dressing up in costume and interacting with the children as she hands out the treats. And with her small stature, I could just send her on a run through the neighborhood to replenish our stock if we run out.
But our house is going to be dark this year when the zombies descend on the neighborhood. The only creatures there will be our cats, who will probably think that someone burned the toast when the doorbell starts going off.