Monday, October 29, 2012

The 5 Houses of Halloween

Here's hoping you're cozy and warm inside on this hurricane-y Monday! Since I know you're looking for something to do between watching alarmist weather reports, scarfing down "Hurricane Necessities" (i.e. Ho-hos, fun-size packs of M&Ms (they were on sale!), and Cheetos), and waiting for your basement to flood, here's another little trip down Casey's Memory Lane. Also, it includes some Halloween advice. Besides, with Sandy trekking up and across the coast, who knows if Halloween will even happen in the eastern half of the US? So keep popping those M&Ms and escape into a land where Halloween still exists. This is my hurricane gift to you.

My Halloween memories mainly smell like Three Musketeers and Milky Ways.

We'd eat chili and cornbread every year, wait for it to get dark as we excitedly pulled on our costumes (over our turtlenecks, to ensure we were warm enough), and then wander into the dark neighborhood, my dad close behind with a flashlight. When our plastic pumpkin buckets were mostly full, we'd head back to the house to sort through the loot, dispose of any Mary Janes and black licorice, and eat as much candy as we could before Mom and Dad issued their "HOW MUCH HAVE YOU EATEN THAT'S YOUR LAST PIECE" warning.

What could make or break Halloween were the houses you hit up for candy. Growing up in a townhouse community was the best -- hundreds of houses crammed together. Of course, with that many houses to choose from, you knew you'd knock on the doors of some duds. I've found that houses at Halloween can be divided into one of five categories, and can tell you a lot about the people handing out the goods:
  1. Porch light turned off, fence locked, shades drawn: Clearly scarred by Halloweens past, devoutly religious, or those who don't want to risk getting mugged by overly aggressive and germy children. Don't even walk up their driveway or steps -- assess from the road that there is no sugar to be had and move on. 
  2. Bucket or basket on the well-lit porch: These people hate the sound their doorbell makes, still don't want to risk getting mugged, or are watching TV show premieres in the basement and want to guarantee they only have refill candy during commercial breaks.
  3. Might-as-well-give-out-raisins stingy: Dentists, granola moms, economists... there's nothing worse than "here's one Dum-Dum lollipop" unless of course you do end up getting a box of raisins. Or a mini bag of pretzels. What the heck. Have you ever MET a kid? Were you ever a kid yourself?
  4. The regular houses, with non-spooky decorations: They have kids or grandkids who are also out trick-or-treating, usually toss a couple fun-size candy bars into your plastic pumpkin, and comment on how sweet your costume is, even if you're dressed like a face-melting zombie.
  5. The kid's best friend: Generous handful: Also read, Home of the King-sized Candy Bars. Typically adults who are still kids, who are more dressed up than you are, whose houses are decorated to the nines with fake cobwebs, and who are more interested in freaking trick-or-treaters out with their man-sized Mickey Mouse costume (yes, this happened) than commenting on whatever you're dressed up as. Worth it. 
Here's to hoping trick or treating still goes down on the East Coast! And if it does... be the good house on your street, for crying out loud.

No comments:

Post a Comment