Tag Archives: trick or treat

The trick-or-treater always rings twice

It was a dark and stormy night. Well, it was dark and sprinkling a little bit. But that annoying kind of sprinkle that gets your clothes all soggy.

It was quiet inside the house. Perhaps a bit too quiet. Well, not really too quiet. I mean, the TV was on. And for some reason the fridge always emitted a high-pitch squeal that could be heard throughout the rest of the house. (But everyone always ignored that sound because it probably meant the fridge was on its last legs and honestly, no one really wanted to deal with it).

On the couch sat two nervous creatures. One wide-eyed and tense because she knew what was coming. The other wide-eyed and tense because he didn’t know what was coming but since she was acting weird, he felt there was no time like the present to also act weird. So while she absent-mindedly picked at her nail polish and cast furtive glances in his direction, he awkwardly climbed on her lap, not really sitting and not really standing, but nonetheless blocking the TV from her view anyway.

They sat this way as agonizing minutes ticked by.

Tick.

Tick.

High pitch squeal from fridge.

Tick.

And then, just when she thought they might have lucked out this year, thought that maybe by some miracle the porch light had burned out, it happened. The very thing she had been dreading.

“Ding-dong!”

And that’s when all hell broke loose. Before she could stop him, he launched his (freakishly strong, by the way) 32-pound body like a rocket off her lap, hitting the floor mid-stride and doing a Scooby-Doo scramble around the corner of the coffee table until he reached the door at the top of the stairs of their second-story apartment, barking and howling the entire time like the neighborhood feral cats had finally gotten organized and were attacking the house en masse.

She, meanwhile, started calmly yelling at him to “shut up!” and “knock it the hell off!” while simultaneously trying to pull him back from the door by his collar so she could squeeze her frame through without letting him through (which, since she didn’t weigh 32 pounds, was no mean feat). This was followed by trying to close said door as he repeatedly launched his entire (freakishly lithe) body at any and all openings. After finally getting the door shut and ignoring the desperate sounds of him howling and trying to dig his way under the closed door, she made her way as quick as she could down the stairs to the front door, which she threw open to some very startled trick-or-treaters. She then breathlessly yelled “Happy Halloween!” over the clamor of what probably sounded to a small child like a dog getting murdered.

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Luckily, the little kids who didn’t run away in terror at the sound of a crazed dog and the sight of an equally crazed swamp witch (and no, it wasn’t a costume, just how the woman looked without makeup on these days) got a giant fistful of candy and went on their merry way, no worse for the wear.

And then she slowly went back up the stairs, back to him, he who had finally stopped barking and was enthusiastically wagging his tail like “gee, wasn’t THAT fun!?”. They sat back down on the couch together, he once again not quite sitting, not quite standing on her lap, she once again not able to see the TV.

And they both breathed a sigh of relief.

Which was quickly followed by another “Ding-dong!”

Repeat 27 more times.

The moral of this story, kids? This Halloween, appreciate your candy. Treasure it. And try to remember through the fog of your sugar-induced mania the sacrifices many of us dog-owning adults had to go through to ensure that the candy got into your little hands.

Oh my gourd, she murdered a pumpkin

I was 33 when I murdered and mutilated the dead body of my first pumpkin.

I know. I know. How did I ever manage to make it this far in my life without committing veggiecide? I mean, ripping out the slimy entrails of innocent gourds is practically a rite of passage in this country. Even kindergarteners are handed a knife and told to stab a pumpkin in the face.

Well, it’s a long story, kids. One that I’m probably going to make even longer because my editor wants at least 800 words.

It all started with my childhood…

(flashback wavy lines, flashback wavy lines, flashback wavy lines)

When I was a kid, I wasn’t allowed to go trick-or-treating. This had less to do with child abuse (as I VERY vocally insisted to my mother back then) then (as I realize now) it had to do with the time period. See, back in the early ancient period known as the ‘80s, everyone was afraid that 1. all teenagers were involved in satanic cults and 2. those satanic cults spent all their time stuffing razor blades into mini Kit Kat bars. Add on top of that the fact that most of my extended family felt Halloween glorified the Devil and I lived in a place where non-working tractors outnumbered people four-to-one (making for quite a long hike just to score some free yet probably non-name brand candy), and you have the perfect recipe for a Halloween-less youth.

Not that I was completely deprived. My aunt threw a great party every year on the night before Halloween, complete with costumes, bobbing for apples and big piles of razorblade-free candy. We just couldn’t call it a Halloween party. Because it wasn’t. Because Satan is always watching.

And there was one year when I was a teenager that I did actually go trick-or-treating. But that was really just more of an excuse for 11 of us to jump into a completely unsafe car while in costume and drive around while smoking cigarettes and sharing a bottle of Boone’s Farm (which tasted like gasoline and haunted watermelons). I did also attempt during this time period to participate in that other time-honored Halloween tradition, the haunted house, but at the first sign of a chainsaw I threw up my hands, yelled “NOPE!” and sprinted back to the car.

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As I got older, I spent a few years doing the “get drunk at a bar while wearing a costume that would make your feminist grandmother cry” Halloween tradition. I also would dress in “costume” for work, but usually only as a gypsy or Amy Winehouse since neither required me to really change my hair. Or my outfit. Or the amount of eyeliner I usually wore.

So, as you can see, my relationship with Halloween has been spotty at best. Which is why I probably never decorated my house for the holiday, inside or out. And why I haven’t worn a costume the past few years (unless you count my standard “Gypsy Amy Winehoue” everyday look). And why I quickly lose my enthusiasm for handing out candy to trick-or-treaters.

“Oh look, another Iron Man and Elsa from ‘Frozen.’ How original. Take your Snickers and go. You disgust me.”

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But now…well, now I’m a parent. And that has made all the difference this year. Suddenly I’m all in the holiday spirit, like the love child of Martha Stewart and Elvira.

Which is how I came to commit my first veggiecide. A task I took a bit too much glee in judging from the horrified look on my husband’s face.

Hey honey, could you maybe not laugh maniacally while holding that giant knife and pulling out the pumpkin guts. It’s…uh…it’s creeping me out, babe.”

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I’m even finally using the Halloween kitchen towels my mother-in-law got me years ago. I mean, I use them the rest of the year too. (What? Suddenly I’m a Rockefeller who can afford enough kitchen towels to not use the seasonal ones year-round?) But I’m using them now too. On purpose.

And, best of all, I already bought my son his costume (a baby chicken outfit because 1. it was on sale and 2. we want to save the Chucky costume for next year when he can walk and hold a bloody knife better) and plan to take him for his first trick-or-treat outing at what his dad calls “my work’s Halloween thingy event for children or something.”

Yes, I must say, making up for all that lost time has me downright giddy and we still have a week to go until the big day. In fact, I may even dress up in costume this year. As Zombie Gypsy Amy Winehouse. Which won’t even require makeup since I haven’t had a full night’s sleep my son was born.