Monday, October 31, 2016


For some reason, my small Ohio town decided to hold Trick-or-Treat night (aka: the true meaning of Halloween) on Thursday, October 27 (aka: NOT Halloween.) I have no idea what that nonsense was about, nor was I made aware of this information until after 5 p.m. on Thursday evening. I happened to catch the local news, and glanced, indifferently, at the listing of Trick-or-Treat times in the various communities. While I expected some to hold theirs over the weekend (which sucks for parents who want to go to Halloween parties, but is the best for kids who can stay up all night and eat their loot,) I never expected any adult fools would force the youngsters to go a-begging four full days ahead of the rest of the world. Therefore, I was lying on the sofa in sweatpants and an old hoodie, make-up free, hair in a high pony reserved for shampoo-free days, with nothing that resembled candy in the entire household. If the kids around here were into tricks, I was screwed.
"No candy? Redrum her! Redrum!!"

I made a quick scramble to the pantry to see if there was anything that could pass for a treat. I recognized that kids today would never accept a can of white kidney beans or a single-serving pouch of instant oatmeal in their designer pumpkin totes, so all hope was lost. Of course, in my day, we were happy with whatever we received! Apples with surgically inserted razor blades, a single tootsie roll, homemade popcorn balls that ended up glued to the sides of our paper grocery bags, the toothbrush from the dentist down the street, and pennies from the old man whose house smelled liked mothballs were all considered legitimate treats.

As the witching hour approached, I decided there was only one thing to do. I closed every blind in the house, turned off all lights with the exception of the one glowing from my iPhone (I wasn't about to give up social media during my self-imposed black out!) and decided that if someone rang my doorbell, I'd lie very, very still until the little demons went away.

Ten minutes into my plan, I was bored and hungry. I had no choice but to turn on the kitchen light to make myself a snack. Plus, I really wanted to rewatch this week's episode of "This Is Us" on Hulu as my sinuses were not sufficiently cleansed from the crying fest of the first viewing.  That's when it hit me! I knew where I could find some treats.... the bathroom medicine cabinet!

Before you call the cops on me for distributing prescription medication without a license, I'm talking about cough drops! I had recently purchased a fresh pack of Wild Cherry flavored Halls! Perfect! They are sweet, sugary, and basically candy for us phlegmy older people with our GERD and our sinuses and our diminished saliva capacity (DSC.) My plan was to greet the adorable goblins and ghouls, distract their parents by asking what they thought of the recent Walking Dead episode, and dip my hand deeply into the child's treat container. I would secretly toss in a handful of Hall's, give the whole thing a stir, snatch a snack-sized chocolate using slight of hand, and then tell the parents I was voting for Hillary so they'd get off my patio right quick.
"What sort of alien beast are you to speak such evil in Trump country?"
I settled on the sofa, plan in place. I waited. And waited. And waited. My husband arrived home from work after 8 p.m. (when trick-or-treat was officially over) and found me curled in a fetal position on the couch, clutching a bag of cough drops to my breast. "What's wrong?" He asked. "Are you sick?"
"Sick with sorrow!" I replied. "We didn't one single trick-or-treater. Not one!"
"Trick-or-treat is tonight?"
"Of COURSE it's tonight! It's Thursday, October 27. When did you think it would be? Anyway, that doesn't matter. Our house was shunned."
"Um," he replied, "Honey? You do remember we live in a 55+ community. There aren't exactly a lot of trick-or-treat age people around here."
"In this community, we can watch reruns of NCIS on Halloween nightwithout fear of being interrupted by other people's grandchildren!"
Then, it occurred to me. When you downsize to a retiree condominium community, you give up a lot - your lawnmower, your snowblower, your worries about whether that brown spot on your ceiling is a leaky section of the roof. You also give up some of the little things that bring joy, like children showing up at your door at 6 p.m. in costumes shouting, "Trick or treat!"  on a day that is not Halloween, followed by teenagers in non-costumes at 6:45. You can't put out a giant, inflatable pumpkin unless you want a strongly-worded letter from the home owners association. But, you know what? That's okay. We've had our day and our turn. Now it's time to let the young people stare out the window wondering if it's too soon to put out the pumpkin. Meanwhile, I think I've earned my own treat!

Happy Halloween! 

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