I am running away because I am scared of all the children who are going to land on my doorstep, shouting “Trick or Treat” in their squeaky little voices.
Pic courtesy Freefoto
Come Halloween, my front porch will be besieged with adorable, gap-toothed little children. But while I find them adorable and cute on other days, on Halloween evening, I am terrified of them. They will be dressed as zombies, skeletons and pirates (or as Sarah Palins), but it’s not their costumes that will scare me. No, I am scared of their antics.
I am not scared of every child. There are lots of perfectly behaved children who will arrive to trick me, and leave happily bribed with the Mars and Snickers and Butterfingers and other bars that I, like everyone else, will hand out. But there are other children who will leave me shaken.
These come in various shapes and sizes – from gap-toothed four year olds to defiant thirteen year olds, boys and girls, princesses and pirates.
Who are these children? Well, they come in five main types.
The Size-ists: These children only like large sized bars, and by large I mean 6 inches long and 3 inches wide. They will look distastefully at your bowl of 2+ inch sized bars and tuck their basket away. You will notice said basket is empty except for a few 6 inch bars.
The Brand Nazis: These children only like specific brands. “I don’t like Mars”, they’ll say, wrinkling their noses in disgust. “Don’t you have something else?” The child beside him will say “I hate Snickers, it’s disgusting”, and you find yourself picking out Butterfingers and Hersheys and getting their approval for each candy bar.
The Allergic-to-everything: These children will sweetly ask you to give them only bars that don’t have nuts. “I am allergic to peanuts”, they will say. Or “I am allergic to milk”. “Do you know which brand will agree with you?” you ask them. “I don’t know, you pick something without peanuts”, they’ll say grandly. You will find yourself standing on your porch and peering at candy wrappers in sudden panic, while a dozen kids clamor outside and more arrive every minute.
The Oliver Twists: These children are never satisfied. If you let them help themselves from the bowl, they will take multiple fistfuls. If you hand out candy, they will ask for two or three helpings. It’s hard to say no to a child. But as the last stragglers come in, you find that you are down to your last candy bar or two. It’s harder to find an empty candy bowl when the evening is still young.
The Alien encounterers: These children will pause and study your brown skin. “You speak funny”, they will say. They will grab the candy you hand them and flee. Or hesitate to approach the bowl. You wonder why those scary skeletons and ghouls are frightened of you – after all, you are just dressed as a human 🙂
Each year, I find myself desperately searching for the parents. But this is a safe neighborhood, so the parents presumably are off to party. The odd ones who come stand across the road and watch from a safe distance, or stand silently beside the group of children without a word of greeting or introduction. You wonder which child’s parent this is – if it is the misbehaving child’s, perhaps it is easier to remain silent and disown all responsibility? 😉
But the kids leave me running scared. So this Halloween, you will find a bright light on my porch and a large bowl filled with more than a hundred candy bars on my doorstep. But you won’t find me.
P.S. If you notice, the title is from Ogden Nash’s “Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker”.
I have summed up my Halloween experience in verse in the title – “Candy is dandy, but fifth gear comes from fear.”
So when you leave a comment, can you also sum up your Halloween experience as a verse? It should start with “Candy is dandy..”