After visiting our new granddaughter in Hoboken for awhile we headed south to North Carolina (just before Sandy came to town) to be with our son, daughter-in-law, and darling 17 month old granddaughter Addison.
Last night was of course Halloween, and since this neighborhood is filled with young families we stocked up on trick-or-treat candy. Cynthia and I raised our two children in a similar setting so we knew what to expect.
Or so we thought.
The elaborate outside decorations we observed on walks around the community were clues we didn't pick up on. I've never seen so many skeletons, bats, spiders, ghouls, ghosts, and graveyards. And there's now this spider web stuff adorning porches and shrubbery.
When we saw neighbors setting up fire pits and lawn chairs in their driveways we realized this Halloween celebration was going to be on a bigger scale than we'd ever experienced.
At six o'clock the doorbell rang for the first time. We weren't ready. The dogs went nuts as Addison was still being dressed in her costume and I scrambled for the candy bowl. I gave the kids some candy, we got the dogs sequestered, and our little giraffe was ready for her first trick-or-treating.
Cynthia and I manned our own lawn chairs outside as the onslaught began.
The waves of kids came in a decreasingly desirable order. First out were what trick-or-treating is all about-the smallest ones with their cute costumes and shy behavior. Parents reminding them what to say. Sweet angels and little devils and princesses.
Next came a mixture of ages from acceptable to borderline too old. Lots of Dorothy's from the Wizard of Oz, ninjas, and nerds. I enjoyed messing with the middle schoolers. I told them (with tongue in cheek)if I couldn't guess their costumes they got no candy, which threw them all a curveball. Typical exchange with a guy:
"I give up. What are you?"
"I have no idea."
"Neither do I. That's why I asked. Here's some candy. Get out of here."
"You're a nerd, right?"
"Did you even change clothes after school or is this how you always look?"
One girl came up and proudly said, "I bet you didn't know I used to live right next door to you!"
Me: "I bet you didn't know I don't even live here."
And so it went. Then came the posse I detest--the older teenagers who should be home giving out candy, not shamelessly still trick-or-treating. I think they drove themselves here. One guy with a mask was bigger than me, and another one had a beard--growing out of his face, not drawn on. But what do you do--say "no" and take a chance on them egging or otherwise vandalizing your home?
You give them some candy so they'll go away.
But this year in the late crowd I encountered two categories that I guess are a sign of the times. Several actually made requests: "Do you have any Reese's?" Really? I'm giving you something and you're being picky? I'll give you one Reese's for two Hershey's, knucklehead.
Even more surprising was a kid who refused what I gave him, saying, "I can't eat this." What, it's got Red Dye #5? Peanuts? No, the other kid got the Reese's. Then he actually picked through the bowl and grabbed a couple of suitable choices. By this point I was too pooped to even care.
By 7:30 four huge bowls of candy were gone and we were cold anyway (no fire pit--who knew?), so we went inside, turned off the lights, and closed the shutters.
Several plaintive door knocks afterwards went unanswered. We were treating ourselves to much-deserved glasses of wine.