Texting, smoking while trick-or-treating frowned upon
Halloween will be here in a few days, which means hordes of little cutie pies will darken your door in search of candy. Oh, and there will no doubt be a few "kids" showing up with 5 o'clock shadows.
On more than one occasion over the years, The Wife and I (with both Tax Deductions in tow) have helped hand out candy at a friend's house in a busy neighborhood. For the most part this has been a great experience, although there's always a couple of goofs who sour the experience a bit.
Last year a guy who looked to be 18 walked up to my then 7-year-old Tax Deduction and held out a plastic Walmart bag without saying a word.
"You didn't say 'trick or treat', you're not a kid and you're not wearing a costume," TD#2 said. "Trick-or-treating is for little kids."
This guy wasn't even transporting kids. He was just a dude in a truck trying to score free Snickers.
Later on, a group of kids accompanied by their older brothers and sisters made their way up the driveway. The little kids in the group were as sweet and polite as they could be, while their older siblings had obviously missed more than a few of Emily Posts columns - particularly the one about smoking a cigarette while trick-or-treating.
That's right - a group of teenage boys and girls were asking for candy with lit cigarettes in their mouths.
"You may want to try the doctor's house at the end of the block," I said. "I hear he's passing out Nicorette this year."
Another Halloween favorite is the haunted house, but movies have gotten so gory over the last few years it's nearly impossible to scare anyone. With this in mind, I'd like to recommend my friend Kevin Morgan's "Adult-Themed House of Horrors".
"Some people were against the idea of an adult-themed haunted house," Morgan said. "But there's nothing here that adults don't deal with on a daily basis. We have the frightening 'Tunnel of Taxes', the ghastly 'Hall of Mortgages', the blood-curdling 'Audit Room' and the terrifying 'Radio That Plays Only Wagon Wheel 24/7' The way I see it, our haunted house is educational."
Morgan's Adult-Themed Haunted House is popular but is not without its detractors.
"We took our son Michael to Mr. Morgan's adult haunted house 23 years ago," said Camille Gagliano of Kinston. "He was handling it like a brave little boy until he made it to the mortgage room. He hasn't been quite right since then and to this day he's scared to leave home."
Now aged 45 and working as a telemarketer from his childhood room at his parent's house, Michael Gagliano leads a simple yet sheltered life.
"We can't even get him to check the mailbox," Camille Gagliano said. "He's afraid we won't let him back in the house."
During my prime trick-or-treating years from the ages of 3 to 27, Halloween costumes came in what looked like a Krispy Kreme doughnut box containing a plastic Superman outfit with a cape and mask. The outfit and cape were made of a plastic so toxic there was a warning on the box about leaving the windows in the car rolled down while trick-or-treating. The mask smelled like antique formaldehyde and was strapped to your face with a rubber band tight enough to cut diamonds.
Did I mention the costumes were flammable?
One Halloween a nice lady dropped a candy bar in my bag while puffing on a Newport. A stray ember from her cigarette landed on my Superman outfit and within three seconds it was transformed into a Human Torch outfit. The lady pushed me to the ground to put the fire out, but since she was still smoking the cigarette the fire kept flaring back up. I had to finish trick-or-treating that night wearing the woman’s Avon Sales Rep of the Year windbreaker.
The day after Halloween I’d hear the other kids at school talking about the dozens of pounds of candy they’d accumulated the night before. Growing up in a rural area it was pretty tough for me to rack up impressive numbers because there were a couple of miles between most of the houses in our neighborhood. Sometimes the trip between houses was so long we’d have to dip into my candy supply to have enough energy to make it the next house.
Rural trick-or-treating is also different in that you’re not always going to receive store-bought candy. For every Twix or Zero bar, there’d be a sweet potato, a bag of cornbread and in one case a fresh sausage biscuit. My parents said they routinely received collards when they were trick-or-treating.
It’s fun to scare people, and this year many houses will be booby-trapped with expensive displays designed to scare the breakfast right out of your children. Back when I was trick-or-treating in the Bucklesberry community, no one needed expensive special effects to scare people up a tree. The scariest thing I ever saw at Halloween - and it’s still tough to talk about - was the time someone offered my parent’s a glass of unsweetened tea. I had nightmares about it for years and to this day carry two packs of sugar in my shirt pocket as a precaution.
This year TD#1 will be dressing up as Audrey Hepburn while TD#2 wants to be a witch, albeit a fancy one who wears pink and enough jewelry to knock Mr. T over. I’m trying to talk The Wife into going as Wonder Woman.
As for myself, I’ve narrowed it down to either Johnny Depp or George Clooney - you know, something easy that won't require much prep time.
I hope you all have fun out there this year, but please don't text while you're asking someone for candy. It's just rude.