Monday, October 31, 2005

21st-Century Trick-or-Treaters

So far five groups of trick-or-treaters have come to our house. A record, I think. We usually get one or two groups--or zero. The weird thing is that, apart from one skeleton and one pink princess, hardly any of the kids were wearing costumes and in several cases the grown-ups that were escorting them had their own bags and fully expected to get a treat! I guess I’m OK with that. I mean do I really want to have a bunch of Hershey bars (not my chocolate of choice by a long shot) left over? But isn’t it just a smidge presumptuous and brazen for the adults to belly right up to the bar like that?

I couldn’t restrain myself from asking the kids where their costumes were, because I think I subconsciously feel that they need to “earn” their treat with a diverting costume. After the last batch came through a few minutes ago, I decided I’m not going to ask that question anymore because one kid told me “My mom didn’t get me one.” These kids had no real adult escort with them—just a girl of about 13. Worse, one of the kid’s bags (a flimsy plastic WinCo bag) broke and he had to ask me if I could get him a new one! Jeez. That’s just sad. I mean I always thought it was a bit unnecessary to go around collecting your candy in a special plastic Jack o’Lantern, but I wish someone would have taken the trouble to get these kids a sheet to throw over their heads or to put some makeup on their faces. Anything no matter how minimal. Just so that the kid wouldn’t have to feel awkward and deprived of the admiration of strangers (admiration and attention that I’m going to guess they don’t get at home).

We’re down to four Reese’s peanut butter cups now—candy that, I'll admit, I’ve been holding in reserve, hoping they’d be left over and I could have them for myself. It’s after 9:00 PM now and the big kids are out. A teenaged girl and her boyfriend just showed up—in costume (thank god), a damsel in distress and a sort of Zorro/Batman. I had the gall to ask them how old they were. Not because I believe there should be a cut-off, but (guilty secret) because as a teenager I devised an elaborate subterfuge (involving blue face paint and a hunchback) so that I could go out trick-or-treating and not be recognized as the ancient 16-year-old I was. I had to go alone, too, because all my friends were “too old” for Halloween. But I didn’t care, and my disguise worked brilliantly. No one had a clue who I was—not even the people I babysat for. I sure pulled one over on them!

But now, apparently, I could just wander down the street in sweatpants and an anorak with a Fred Meyer bag in my hand and plunder the entire city of Portland. And I might just have to do that since a gaggle of teens just came by and we are now right out of candy. There were five of them, too, so that meant one of them had to do without. I offered up a green tomato in lieu of chocolate and was met with scoffs. I hope I don’t wake up tomorrow to find our two miserable lollipop trees draped with soggy toilet paper.


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