Sunday, October 31, 2004

Halloween hijinks

A costumed child has never knocked on our door on Halloween in the 24 years we have lived here. We're just too out of the way, I guess and parents don't think to bring their children here. The teenagers head for downtown and throw biscuit dough at each other and the cars so that the next morning the streets are littered with glops of dough. Toilet paper magically appears in trees and shaving cream on store windows. Mostly it is just simple acts of vandalism -- nothing too destructive. Its fun to turn on the scanner and listen to the radio traffic as the town's vigilant public servants patrol for roaming gangs of biscuit-dough throwers. I think back with fondness on one of the letter carriers at the post office. He had lost an eye in a carpentry accident. On Halloween he would appear on his route, mail bag over his shoulder, with the most gruesome getup. He had an old pair of glasses into which he had hammered a nail so that it went into an old glass eye. And there would be a single trickle of dried blood trailing down across his cheek. Older patrons on his route got quite a shock from concerned lady even tried to get him situated on her porch so she could run inside and call 911. My dad made Halloween a wonderful time for his children. He had a rubber mask that looked very much like a Neanderthal and he would put it on, drape himself with burlap, and go out with us from house to house. Later, when we were all grown up, one brother took him to the corporate Halloween party, where he scared the women and was a big hit. My Grandpa lived a few blocks from our house and one Halloween he invited us over for hot chocolate after we finished trick-or-treating. That was quite a surprise, because Grandma had died and Grandpa didn't "do much" with us kids. Poor man. He mistook salt for the sugar (this was REAL hot chocolate, not a premixed product). It was horrible and we couldn't drink it, but we loved him for it all the more. It was the thought that counted.

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