So, now that we’re heading into the glorious almost-holiday season (even though the stores have been getting us ready for several weeks), I figured I would share some thoughts on Halloween.
Halloween is now somewhat of a dreaded holiday in my house, since Morty is not a fan of anyone non-pack-related entering our territory (which includes house, lawn, driveway, and entire street to each end of the block. Extends to 10 miles if you’re the Mailman). I have tried a few things over the past few years–I have cordoned him off in the hallway with a baby gate (hysterical barking the entire time, with kids looking somewhat fearfully into the house), I’ve cordoned off myself in the front door area with baby gates (same thing, only the dog is closer now to the kids). I’ve shut him in the garage, I’ve shut the lights and hid in the backyard hoping no one would approach the property, I’ve given him Benadryl, I’ve tried training him with rewards if he sits in his place while I open the door…. you get the picture. Anyway, I’m always dreading it a bit and fitfully worrying weeks ahead about what my new plan of action should be.
Honestly, I’m not even sure why I put up with this, because I have to say that at least 50% (get ready, here comes some old biddy talk) of the kids are somewhat rude. Some of them with their parents standing right there. Now sometimes I’m dumb, because I know I should just grab the handful of treats and give them one by one, and tell the kids to buzz off. But sometimes, when they see that bowl, they become hypnotized, and they want to pick. So I let them pick. Who cares, right? Well, a 4-year old delicately picking and trying to decide is different from a 4-year old who sticks his/her hand in the bowl and grabs a handful. Even when I say, “just one, now!” I know it is exciting to get free candy. I know it’s an adventure and sometimes your parents aren’t watching. But honestly, do you really need to grab 4 pieces when you’ve already got a shopping bag full of candy? (the pumpkin head buckets do not hold nearly enough)
Anyway, I was better this year and just handed out the candy piece by piece—but they were eyeing what I was giving out, if I gave something different to one of the other kids (another dumb move, I should just buy all one kind), if there was a possibility for a different candy, etc. It felt like when Morty is waiting for me to give him a piece of cheese and he is looking at how much I have in one hand, wondering if he’s going to get all that’s in the other hand (even when he’s already eating some of it), longing for that other big piece that he somehow thinks he may not get to eat. BUT, I try to remember that kids will be kids, and I guess I’d be pissed if I got something weird like Mounds when everyone else got Reese’s.
So, there’s the grabbing a handful of candy even though I’m telling them to pick ONE, and Mom or Dad is standing there, not saying anything. There is also the forgotten tradition of actually saying, “Trick or Treat” after ringing the doorbell. I know I’m an old lady and all, but for Pete’s sake, it’s three small words to say, and I’ve spent like $238 on this candy, and eaten almost an entire bag because of this holiday, so, come on! Even 3-year old’s can master the expression. I remember my brother in law Dave complaining about an older kid who just stuck his hand out (no bag, no trick or treat, nothing), and I had that too, though some were not older kids! Listen, if you’re too young to form the words, that’s one thing (though–should you really be having that much candy?), but if you’re older than 3, you can darn well say it.
My favorite little “group” (two kids) experience went like this: (and to preface, I am hovering in the living room, listening for kids coming up the driveway, and ready to restrain my dog, so, I’m not miles away from the front door). Doorbell rings. Doorbell rings. Doorbell rings. HARD banging on the door. Doorbell rings. Banging on the door. Doorbell rings. (WTF?) I open the door and the littler kid is hitting his hand on the candy bucket….I don’t know what the expression is here, but you know how you used to pound one fist into your other palm as if to say, “you’re gonna get a beating…bring it on…” ? Well that’s what he was doing. He had to be maybe 6 or 7. I’m putting on my best pleasantries and trying not to be an old biddy. I reach into the bowl and the mean one who was going to beat me up asks if he can pick his own. I ask him which one he wants, and the other one (the Doorbell Assassin) says, “I WANT ALL OF THEM” and sticks his hand in. Well, I’m not gonna tolerate this crap. I say, “only one,” (he proceeds to grab) and then “only ONE now!” and I remove some from his hand. They finally ended up picking one each and walking away. I don’t think they said, “trick or treat” or “thank you.” I half-expected one of the parents to bring me up on assault charges for taking some candy away from the older kid.
I don’t know. I’m sure I could be a jerk sometimes when I was a kid, but I don’t ever remember complaining right to the person (WHO WAS GIVING ME FREE CANDY) that I didn’t like the offerings, or asking if I could have more than one (whaaat!!??), or grabbing at their bowl, or not saying “trick or treat” or “thank you.” I might assess the booty and complain at the end of the driveway, but never to an adult’s face. I really don’t think a little politeness is a big thing to ask. Maybe I really am just too old for this holiday!
And if you’re wondering what happened with Morty….. this year we had a big surprise. Morty, in all of his wisdom, now runs into the garage when he hears the doorbell ring. We do enter our house through our garage, so I guess that’s somewhat smart, but I had a big garbage pail blocking the door so he couldn’t attack the door and/or break the window glass with a rock and try to get at the invaders. He would then run out into the yard and bark, bark, bark. But it worked out rather well. Even though he knew I was opening the front door constantly, I guess he thought he would prevent sneak attacks.
All in all, Halloween turned out somewhat better than expected, but it’s not overly fun or cute any more. Some kids were great and gracious and had great costumes. Others were decidedly not. I’m thinking that maybe next year (if I do this at all), I’m going to have a large bottle or wine or liquor handy, for me and Morty, and perhaps we’ll both enjoy the holiday a little more.
Now—- onward to Thanksgiving and Christmas. Woohoo!!