By Mike Pound
Another Halloween of scarce trick-or-treating is upon us, and I’m OK with that.
Our Halloweens have been pretty devoid of trick-or-treating ever since our 14-year-old daughter, Emma, decided she was too old for that sort of thing. Sure, we still get a few trick-or-treaters at our house, but that is about the extent of our contact with kids in costumes asking for candy.
We live about half a block from the busiest trick-or-treating street in our town. In fact, the street is so thick with trick-or-treaters that the city, this year, decided to close it to car traffic. So, with most of the trick-or-treating occurring away from our street, we tend to only get a handful of stragglers, typically in the form of kids and parents who want to avoid the crowd.
This, of course, drives my wife crazy. Every year, my wife goes out and spends an amount of money roughly equal to the GDP of a small Third World country on candy, in hopes of having hordes of trick-or-treaters converge on our house. By the way, “hordes” is the correct term used to describe large numbers of trick-or-treaters.
Every year, my wife pops in the classic animated TV special “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” in the DVD player in our living room and waits for the door bell to ring. What I do is find a sporting event on the TV in our family room and prepare to ignore the door bell if it happens to ring.
Eventually, the door bell does ring and my wife, while fighting off our German shepherd, Shilo — who treats every door bell ring as a potential case of home invasion — opens the door and greets the young trick-or-treaters. This is how the whole thing sounds:
“Oh my, what do we have? ‘RUFF, RUFF, RUFF’ BE QUIET SHILO I’M TRYING TO TALK TO THE TRICK-OR-TREATERS. WAIT! WHERE ARE YOU GOING? WHAT DO YOU MEAN I’M SCARING YOUR CHILDREN? COME BACK. YOU CAN’T LEAVE! I HAVE SNICKERS!”
When Emma was younger, I used to take her to the busy Halloween street near our house so she could trick or treat. Emma loved to trick or treat, and I sort of tolerated her love for trick-or-treating because I knew that when Emma was through, I would be able to go home and have a beer.
“Hey, I took her trick-or-treating,” I would always say if my wife gave me one of her “what do you think you’re doing?” looks.
For the past few years, Emma has been helping my wife pass out candy to the few trick-or-treaters that my wife didn’t scare away. Well, Emma would help for a while, and then she and her mom would get into one of those arguments that they get into whenever they have to work together. And then Emma would sit down and watch Linus try to explain the Great Pumpkin to Charlie Brown, leaving my wife to answer the door and Shilo to protect us from invaders.
This year, however, Emma is going to a Halloween party. This will be Emma’s first teenage Halloween party. But since it’s a church youth group party, I don’t anticipate things to get out of hand. I don’t know if Emma plans to wear a costume to the party. When you’re 14, wearing a costume to a Halloween party is a tough call. I’m pretty sure Emma’s decision to wear a costume to the party will depend on whether or not her friends plan to wear costumes.
It’s Halloween peer pressure is what it is.
Sometime this evening, I will drive Emma to her Halloween party. And when I get home and walk up to our door, rather than walk on in, I think I’ll ring the door bell as a joke.
I just hope Shilo can keep my wife away from me.