Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Trick-or-treat live blog, year 2

The official trick-or-treat time has arrived and my two princesses are off with Mom and the kids from next door into the rainy darkness to panhandle for sugary snacks.

I'm here on my porch, accompanied by season-appropriate drawings affixed to the door, my autumnal scarecrow, and a traditional jack-o-lantern accompanied by a cat-o-lantern designed by my oldest princess.

I've got three bowls of treats arrayed in front of me and I'm ready for any visitors in this dank, damp night. I can hear a few voices across the street and wonder why they didn't cross. They seem to intent on milking the neighborhood in a systematic fashion rather than randomly hitting whatever houses seem inviting.

I was prepared to be the walker (as opposed to being the treat-giver). I was even going to bring my old wizard costume out of the closet this year, but at the last minute, I decided I'd rather sit and listen to the holiday happenings around me instead of being a part of it. (That sounds like I'm against it all, but that's not the case.)

Random note #1--I just heard some kids across the street successfully get candy and then walk away singing "BAH DAH BOP BAH BAH, I'm lovin' it!" (sigh) McDonalds wins again.

Still no one comes to my side of the street. Am I putting off some sort of anti-Halloween vibe? Are my jack-/cat-o-lanterns not good enough? I'm developing a Halloween complex. Where is the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown? (And it's only 18 minutes in!)

Speaking of preparations . . . I briefly though about trying to figure out how I could get our synthesizer piano keyboard in the basement to record and then playback spooky sounds and dissonant organ music. Wouldn't that be creepy? Next year . . .

Come on kids . . . if you don't hurry up and start taking my candy, then I'll have to eat it myself. That would indeed be a scary thing.

Random note #2--there is an ant with a leaf or a spider or a fly crawling around on the porch with me and I know there is a small spider on the porch banister beside me. I purposely didn't get rid of them to increase the spooky ambiance.

SCORE! My first visitors . . . a nice young man dressed as a skeleton and another kid dressed as Ghost Rider. Nicolas Cage would be so proud--and his movie isn't even in the theaters yet.

A group of 13/14 year old girls (about six of them) just arrived and they were all dressed as The Desperate Housewives (complete with one in fairy wings serving as the disembodied narrative voice of Mary Alice. Rest easy Marc Cherry . . . your show has reachieved some relevance in its bounce-back third season.

I thought about dressing up as something for Halloween at work today, but I just couldn't come up with anything. I kind of wanted to be a LOST character, but how to pull it off? Admittedly, I didn't try to think really hard about it, since my parents have been visiting, but I should have been able to come up with something, right?

(My parents' visit was great, by the way. We had a really good time and Lynda and I got to get away Friday night/Saturday morning to beautiful Springfield, Ohio to visit the newly restored--rebuilt really--Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Westcott House. I'll post a much more extensive and detailed description of the trip tonight or tomorrow, maybe.)

Another group of two girls just came and went--as Supermodels. I've got to say that the kids are being very cautious in their candy-taking. The Supermodels even asked how much they could take. Most everyone has only taken a few pieces. Don't I remember people just grabbing handfuls in the past?

Finally another two boys arrived (it's 6:30 now) and one was dressed as Ball Pit Boy, while the other had on a suit and was carrying a briefcase. I would have thought suit boy was a secret service agent--because he had some sort of headphones as well, but the briefcase didn't work. Secret Service Agents don't carry briefcases, do they? Wouldn't it sort of slow down their reaction times? Unless it was armor plated and used as a shield? Hmmm.

How can I make my house spookier next year? I should probably hang a ghost or something in the tree in the front yard. But it would be impossible to see at night unless you hit it with a spotlight, which would expose it as a fraudulent decoration and defeat the entire purpose. Many people have inflatable pumpkins and stuff like that, but I don't really like that. And at the grocery store I see very elaborate snow globe-like inflatable things with swirling confetti inside it. Those things just aren't right, in my opinion.

Now I had two families in quick succession with their infants--one dressed as Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer and the other in a fullbody plush duck outfit. I made sure the parents took some candy, because otherwise, it's just going to go to my desk at work and my local readers will have to eat it.

But, back to my spooky decorations . . . maybe I should get some Halloween-colored lights. Except that my outside electric outlets don't work, so it's harder to rig up lighting out there. No, wait . . . I can use an extension cord to snake to another outlet. So, yeah . . . maybe Halloween lights would be a good way to go next year.

I am proud of our jack- and cat-o-lanterns. This is the first year that we actually carved pumpkins and it has worked out great, I think. The jack-o-lantern is as traditional as they get and Sarah did a great job of drawing the cat-o-lantern. Lynda did an equally fine job of carving it.

It's 6:45 and I've still got LOTS of candy here. Come on kids! Get a move on!

(I just ate a White Chocolate Reese's Cup . . . I'm only human!)

I'm now searching through my iTunes library trying to find spooky music to play while I sit here. I don't find much of it, truthfully, though the album names can be deceiving: "Bury the Hatchet," "Mutations," "Hello Nasty," "The Mysterious Production of Eggs," "Funeral," "Revolver, "Medulla," "Blood on the Tracks," "A Rush of Blood to the Head," "Beautiful Freak," "The Best of Elmo," "Demon Days," "Monster," "The Execution of All Things," and "Clones." Maybe I should choose some Radiohead. It is usually strange, but not really spooky--unless you believe Chuck Klosterman's assertion that Kid A is really a description of the events of September 11, 2001. (Click on link and then scroll down to the heading Lyrics and Meaning.)

I hear my kids crossing across the street. They've been out for an hour and should have a pretty good haul. I've had sporadic visitors, but they've only put a dent in the candy I've got here. And most of it has come out of the chocolate left by our neighbor.

Now that it is one hour down, I'll probably see more teenagers than little kids (it is kind of cold, after all), but even the teen boys that just walked away with their stereotypical scary masks only took one piece each! What is it with kids anyway? Have they finally grown worried about the excessive increase in diabetes in young children and the epidemic of obesity in America today??

Or does our candy suck?


I'm hitting a lull in my steam-of-consciousness blog tonight, but now there are lots of kids approaching. And I'm not kidding . . . a LOT of kids, maybe 12 all in a big group. Boys and girls in a whirl of skeletons, Spidermen, zombies, princesses, cowboys, bandits, and stuff I couldn't even identify. They asked if they could take one candy from each bowl--the left filed with Starburst and Skittles, the middle basket with Reeses cups, and the right filled with Tootsie Rolls and Tootsie Pops.

I just had another group of girls, two of them with enormous red fur hats and wearing shaded glasses and dresses. They claimed to be the non-descript catch-all costume of divas. Divas, huh? When I was a kid, we dressed as actual, definable things like Raggedy Andy and Underdog, Superman, and Captain Kangeroo. Now kids just throw on random junk from a thrift store and call themselves a diva. I guess Tyra Banks would be proud?

I hear another herd of kids approaching from down and across the street. I reckon they'll come by soon, once they hit the corner and turn.

My neighbor catty-corner to my really sells it whenever people approach. He exclaims delight at the costumes for all to hear, shouting that he "loves it!" for each visitor. Me? I'm more of a soft-sell. I am polite and welcoming, I think but much more subdued. I chat a bit and try to be generous with the snacks, but I'm not going to yell and exclaim. Maybe I'm just not good enough? Or is it the scented candles burning in the jack-o-lantern and cat-o-lantern? Is it a scented candle or the gradual roasting of the interior pumpkin flesh of the sacrificial gourd?

Random note #3--someone just screamed up the way, causing a gaggle of girls to shriek in the dark. I guess it was a boy who found himself lacking an inkwell to dip pig-tails into. But such is the intricate mating dance of the pubescent teen.

Another group of three girls just left, all dressed similar to Vicki Lawrence as "Mama" (remember "Mama's Family"?). One even had a walker. Carol Burnett would be proud.

Random note #4--I've been hearing strange kaboom noises to my right most of the night and I think I've finally solved where it was coming from. Since I ruled out the presence of small cannons in the neighborhood, I noticed that several kids have been carrying balloons up to the porch. The kabooms must be balloons being stepped on.

(It's 7:27 and I'm beginning to get a chilly feeling in my legs that the corduroys can't banish. Plus, the Reeses Cups are almost gone and any future visitors will be forced to select from Skittles, Starburst, and various Tootsie-themed snacks.)

Random note #5--I haven't seen any pirates so far tonight. Has Johnny Depp's Caribbean persuasion finally flagged? I mean, Nicolas Cage's movie has demonstrated a presence tonight.

(7:44 pm)

I'm entering the home stretch. Now I'm hearing teenagers screaming and running in the dark more than I'm hearing any trick-or-treating. I just finished reading last year's Halloween post--the first of the trick-or-treat blogs. I think this one is better, even if I haven't gotten into the costemery as much.

We'll definitely have leftover candy, but there's nothing to be done about it. I am now concerned with how my kids are doing inside the nice warm house. How much candy have they consumed? How insane is their sugar rush right now? Will they ever go to bed? Will Lynda and I ever have the time tonight to watch the recorded episodes of Battlestar Galactica and Heroes that Dr. Actually lent me today?

I think when I go inside, I'll warm up with some nice microwaved apple cider. Unless we don't have any more of that, in which case I will probably go with a mug of hot chocolate.

Random note #6-- Do you say hot chocolate or hot cocoa? Is that a regional preference? "Cocoa" just sounds sort of pretentious to me, but maybe I'm just insecure.

Now Sarah is keeping vigil on the porch with me, along with our next-door-neighbor's girl. Sarah was out here initially to try and cajole me to let her have another piece of candy. (Apparently, Lynda had set a two-piece only limit tonight, so maybe the sugar rush won't be so bad.) But now our neighbor has gone home and Lynda is getting the kids ready for bed and trying to deflect further entreaties for candy.

So, I'd better shut down and help get the kids asleep. I'll probably leave the lights on and the candy out for a bit.

Happy Halloween!


David said...

That's the kind of IN YOUR FACE! creativity that I hope my kids exhibit someday.

Sven Golly said...

what? no teenage girls saying you have a nice laptop? Maybe you're getting old.