Tonight is my most dreaded night of the year. I know, I know, it's just Halloween, one of the favorite nights of the year for most of the kids in this country. But not for me. And even when I was a kid, my memories of this night didn't involve going from door to door begging for candy. And we didn't go to any expense for costumes. I can't remember if I ever went out in costume. I do remember one Halloween night when I went to a party and bobbed for apples. That's it, my only childhood memory of any Halloween.
After we got married and had a family, either Rosalie or I accompanied our children out to make the rounds of nearby houses. I'm pretty sure it was Rosalie most of the time, if not all the time. And I was assigned to stay at home and answer the door to hand out the goodies. It always struck me as an orgy of sugar greed. A Halloween Scrooge, that was me. But what I most dreaded was what could happen to my house. I had seen the kind of innocent and not so innocent mischief some kids loved to indulge in, especially the ones from our little outlying farm community of Busti, New York. The first few years after we moved to Upstate New York, I would see the messes in the middle of Busti, toilet paper all over, hanging from overhead electric and phone lines, wound around parked cars, an upended outdoor toilet on the central green. And tales of houses egged. Oh, yes, the threat of egging. No more the simple soaped windows as the trick. These little buggers were much more expert tricksters. And they were the ones I always feared. "Let's get Mr. T's house," I always envisioned some of them saying, chuckling together as they said it. And it never happened any of the years I taught high school English in Lakewood, New York. Not once.
But even now, years later, living in a childless community, where no one ever knocks on the door looking for candy, I still hate to see this evening's approach. I hate all the hype on tv about costuming and decorating houses and warnings about nastiness hidden in the candy. "Bah! Humbug!" I say.
Why was Gertie the witch unable to get pregnant? Because her husband Igor had a hollow weenie.