Well, it’s almost here. Good old Halloween. Of course, the Halloween that’s coming isn’t very much like the Halloweens I had as a kid. Our parents didn’t love us and so they let us run rampant all over the place on Halloween night. Dressed in whatever costume I had managed for the year, I would align with friends and together we would plan a trick or treat route which we were sure would bring the greatest booty. We started with items in our bags, but they were not advance candies salting our would be booty bags, no, we were carrying eggs, shaving cream, toilet paper and occasionally brown paper bags and lighter fluid. Use your imagination.
We ranged as a pack, preying on the houses on our route. We’d knock on the door and cry sweetly “trick or treat!” when someone would open up. If they coughed up the expected ransom we would move on to the next home. But if we felt slighted, like someone handing out penny toys or cookies with raisins, we would make them pay. We would write ugly words like POOP HEAD or BUTT DORK on their walls with shaving cream or decorate their trees with toilet paper. If they failed to provide anything at all, well then out came the eggs –so long as they had a jack-o-lantern. If they had their lights out and didn’t answer the door, the rules made us leave them alone and we always obeyed the rules when were were being delinquent. At times we would get on a roll and one of us would have a Great Idea.
I managed to score a roll of adding paper tape one year. We laid it out on the street as if it were a painted street line and stuck it down with peanut butter. We laid the line out so that it ran almost 60 feet and then curved into a driveway. We hid in the bushes and watched for stupid people in cars. We waited there for about a half hour and didn’t see a single car and got bored. We left and went back to hitting up houses for candy. The following day we’d found out that a car driven by an inebriated driver did drive off the road and into the driveway, and nearly collided with the family’s garage. Crap, we missed it. The drunk then tore the heck out of the lawn trying to find his way back to the street, and managed to run over a bicycle left carelessly on the grass. The story spread like wildfire through the neighborhood and my and my friends tried hard to look innocent when the incident was mentioned.
Today everyone seems to try to do their trick or treating in the light of day, making it difficult to play on the fears of wandering kiddies hoping to score. It’s too much like an average day on Sesame Street when a skeleton hops from a shrub cooing “did I scare you? Don’t be frightened. Here, have a Snickers.” No, you come flying out in the deepest of darks, screeching like a siren and throwing buckets of blood collected from the slaughterhouse on children who immediately go fetal and comatose, never again to utter another word. Halloween is black and orange, not white and pastel blue. If a child has never wet their pants on Halloween, why, they’ve never had Halloween!
Of course, we weren’t all that much on the lookout for razor blades in candy bars or pedophiles snagging solo children. Our parents and teachers encouraged us and often helped plot the dastardly tricks we contemplated. After all, it was all in good fun. No one worried that they psyche of a child or their spirit would be damaged by an errant trip into the world of fear as a giver or a getter. Stories of children put in ovens and baked a golden tan by witches got our rapt attention as did the stories of the ghost that haunted the old Parker place. We heard about serial murderers and disemboweled murdering hands, we heard of werewolves and monsters of all stripes. It was electrifying, horrifying and an awful lot of fun. It wasn’t anything like the sterile Anything But Fright Night gatherings put out by schools and organizations these days.
Halloween is a celebration of rushes; at least, it’s supposed to be. First comes the adrenaline as you navigated the spooky realms of All Hallows Eve, and then the sugar rush from begged goods that made us uncontrollable for the next two days. It was a tradition, and like holidays such as Christmas, has somehow morphed into something that denies the whole point of the holiday. I say we should suspend OSHA rules and gag the child psychologists for just one day, and allow kids to put on masks and show their true faces.