I can’t get over how different Halloween is now than it was when we were growing up. There is just no longer the inner desire to try and procure by any means available as much candy as is humanly possible. Is there a glut on the candy market? Are many more moms now candy-shunning vegans? Or is it just laziness?
We live in a picture-perfect neighborhood, all the neighbors dress up their homes for Halloween, they have more than enough chocolate-related products, and the only thing missing is children to give them to. This year we had three trick-or-treaters ring our bell, and they made the trip all the way from the house on our right. They did not make it as far as the house on our left, as I found out the next day. The house on the left had one group of seven, who didn’t get as far as our house. We had three bags of candy, and my wife said we should have given each kid an entire bag and gone to bed.
When I was a kid you made damn sure you had enough energy to get up and down the driveways of at least 20 or 30 houses. Even if it was up a hill. Even if there was five pit bulls guarding the door, a chicken-wire fence, and a chicken. If something about the house seemed a little scary, hey- IT’S HALLOWEEN! It’s supposed to be scary. There were no pedophiles back then, just gym teachers and clergymen. The most dangerous threat was the presence of other rogue groups of kids who might seek to unlawfully gain access to your candy.
And if god forbid we ever received anything healthy, like a candied apple or something, you should expect it to end up in your mailbox, minus the candy. And don’t even talk to me about a box of raisins. We never went out while it was still light out, especially if we didn’t spend a whole lot of time on the costume. Since it was impossible to see through your mask anyway it didn’t make much difference.
This year our young guests arrived with UNICEF boxes, which I hadn’t seen since the last time I trick-or-treated myself, age 18 or so. I remember getting the boxes in school, and spending about an hour and a half trying to figure out how to put the damn thing together, tab A into slot B, fold here, etc. I can’t even get a newspaper to fold the right way, so I just scotch taped the damn thing into the general shape of a box and called it a day. When I was through I couldn’t find the slot that the coins were supposed to go through so I had to cut a new one.
When the kids arrived with UNICEF boxes, I had to wrack my brain to figure out how much to put in it- back when I was a kid you would put a penny or two in. Adjusted for inflation over the years, I figured out that today you would have to put $187.30 into each box.
I keep trying to think of a way to make Halloween work better financially for me. In my own mind I think of candy as a charitable donation. I wrote on my 1040 that we gave away 6.2 million dollars in $100,000 bars. One year a kid took so much candy we claimed him as a dependent.
The day after Halloween re-donned my Jesus outfit and went on a mission of “Reverse trick-or-treating,” whereby I give candy to the neighbors who may have run out already. You can’t keep that stuff in the house, especially if you are Jesus, trying to set examples about gluttony and avarice. No one likes a corpulent Christ, a meaty Messiah, a swollen savior…. I know I was only pretending to be Jesus, but it gave me some great ideas. Like what about a handy reference section in the back of the bible, with a conversion table that tells you how many locusts make up a plague, or how many inches in a cubit (about 18).
Incidentally, if an owl sees you through the window, it is considered to be bad luck for you. If the owl sees you naked through the window, it’s his own bad luck. If you are an owl yourself and another owl looks at you through the window, it’s a “push.”
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