The Dark Knight Rises… And Tries to Steal All My Candy
One of my first customers was a 4-year-old little boy in a padded, muscle-sculpted Batman costume that made him look like the Dark Knight had been hit by a shrink ray. As his parents waited patiently from the sidewalk, Batman made his way up the driveway, hiked up the two steps to the front porch that extends along the dining room window to the front door, and stopped in front of me holding up a pillow case that was nearly as tall as he was.
“Wow!” I said. “That’s a really cool costume!”
I was expecting to hear the high-pitched voice of a four-year-old little boy. But this mask was no ordinary one. It contained a voice modulator that made him sound like what I imagine Darth Vader must have sounded like if he had dueled with and lost to Obi-Wan Kenobi as… Well, as a four-year-old. Hearing a deep, electronic voice coming from a pint-sized Batman was slightly jarring, but mostly it was just incredibly adorable.
Since he was my only trick-or-treater at the time, I decided to let him choose his own candy. He stuck his hand into the bowl and poked around for a bit, swirling the pieces around in a clockwise direction. There were four different kinds of chocolate. I thought at first that he was taking stock of all the options before making his final decision. This is a smart kid, I thought. Suddenly, he lowered his little hand into the middle of the bowl like the claw of that arcade game that drives everyone nuts, grabbed a handful and began to carefully transfer his haul from my bowl towards the opening of his pillowcase. “Wait a minute!” I blurted out quickly, trying to remain calm so as not to upset him. “Just one, okay?” He dropped the candy back into the bowl, selected a Snickers bar and deposited it into his bag.
“Thank you,” said Batman in a deep, serious voice. He hopped down the steps to the narrow sidewalk leading up to the front door and ran excitedly across the browning lawn to his parents, telling them in the same electronic baritone what he had just scored.
Intoxicated Bumble Bee
Not long after 6:00 p.m. – the official start time for trick-or-
treating – I sat on my cold plastic chair looking up and down the street for any incoming candy collectors. Nothing. Across the street, however, I spotted a young couple trying to herd what looked like a tiny bumble bee with two giant, yellow wings on her back.
She displayed the reeling stagger of a miniature drunk person, which means she couldn’t have been much more than a year old. She lurched wildly back and forth from one side of the sidewalk to the other, utterly clueless as to what this whole Halloween thing was all about. Her parents, one on each side, tried desperately to keep her from losing control and falling. Suddenly, she made a bid for freedom by running straight across the front lawn of one of the houses past which they were walking, her father in hot pursuit.
The Texting: During Which We Sound Like Two Ten Year Olds
Things slowed down, and it didn’t take long for boredom to set in. Thinking it might add an extra bit of ambiance, I pulled up some scary Halloween sounds on my phone. I cranked the volume all the way up and stuck my phone in the pocket of my jacket with the speaker end sticking out. This was fun, but nobody was coming, and I was still bored.
Mercifully, I received a text from a high school friend, Jane, who was visiting her parents half a block down the street. She, too, was sitting on their front porch passing out candy in the cold, and she, too, was bored.
Jane: Are you passing out candy?
Me: Yep. At Dad’s house. Are you?
Jane: I’m at my ‘rents’ house.
Me: Have you gotten that 4-year-old little boy wearing the Batman outfit with the voice modulator?
Jane: He was scary cool!
Me: He was! But he tried grabbing a whole handful of candy. Little punk tried ripping me off. I guess you gotta try once though, right?
Jane: Bad Batman! Most kids this way have been polite. Maybe I look mean!
Me: That’s good. Halloween has rules! I told him he could choose his own candy. He was probably confused.
Jane: He chose ALL THE CANDY!
Me: He took his time. He was running his hand through the entire bowl. I thought he was looking for a particular bar, and then he grabbed a whole bunch and tried moving it into his bag. I’m sure it was an honest misunderstanding.
Jane: I think hipsters moved in across the street. Did you see the giant panda on the bike?
Me: They’ve been riding back and forth. I think it’s pretty awesome. They have so many glow sticks on that bike! It’s like a mini rave on two wheels! I wish they’d toss me a beer, though.
Jane: Opportunistic thief, that kid. I see banking in his future…
Me: To be honest, I probably would have tried the same thing at that age. I really, really liked candy.
Jane: What’ve you got? Candywise, that is.
Me: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Milky Way, Twix, Snickers. What do you have?
Jane: Ooh! Was that the $19.95 package? I’ve got Kit Kat, M&Ms, Crunch, and glow-in-the-dark fangs with blood candy.
Me: Glow-in-the-dark fangs? Are they the kind you can put in your mouth and wear?
Me: That is awesome! Can you save me one?
Jane: Yes. Sure!
Me: Cool! Thanks!
Tommy Boy Recommends His Own Film
A 13-year-old boy wearing a kelly-green t-shirt bearing the name of an Irish pub; a green, plaid, short-sleeved, button-down shirt; and a plaid motoring cap came up the front steps and presented his pillowcase with a friendly, laid back “trick-or-treat!”
“Okay… What are you? An Irish pub guy?” I asked.
“That’s what everyone asks me,” he said cheerfully. “I’m Chris Farley from that movie, Tommy Boy.”
“Oh!” I said with as much false recognition as I could muster, having never seen the movie. “I don’t remember if I’ve seen it.” I hadn’t. “Is it good?”
“It’s really good!”
“Is it on Netflix?”
He rolled his eyes up to think for a moment. “I think it is.”
“Okay. Cool. I’ll have to check it out, then.”
“You definitely should. It’s really funny.”
I reached into the bowl, took out a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and dropped it into his pillow case.
About an hour later, Tommy Boy came by again. “You already came by here,” I said teasingly. The look of surprised confusion on his face appeared to be genuine. I decided that even on the off chance he knew that he was double dipping – and I’m pretty sure he wasn’t – he was so convincing, he deserved an extra piece of chocolate, anyway. “Here you go,” I said as I tossed a Snickers bar into his pillow case. “Don’t tell anyone.”
It was cold outside, the number of trick-or-treaters had dwindled to practically nil, and I was nearly out of candy. I dipped inside the house for a bit to warm up when I heard a strange thumping sound from outside. I rushed out to see that a little girl of about 4 or 5 – wearing a brown monkey suit complete with curved tail – had stumbled up the step leading to the front porch and had fallen, spilling much of the contents of her Halloween candy everywhere.
I rushed over to her to ask her if she was okay. My priority was ensuring that she hadn’t been injured. Her priority was picking up the candy she had spilled and returning it to her orange, pumpkin-shaped bucket. I decided that if she was more concerned about retrieving her candy, then she was probably okay, so I helped her gather the rest, and we looked around to make sure we hadn’t missed anything.
“I never do this,” I told her seriously, “I don’t give anyone more than one piece of chocolate. But I think that in your case, you definitely deserve two.” And I dropped two chocolate bars into her bucket. She thanked me and skipped back down the driveway to her waiting parents so they could escort her to the next house.
The Texting, Part 2: During Which We Sound Just Like Our Parents
Jane: Do some chocolate bars seem smaller to you than when we were kids?
Me: Most definitely. Cheap bastards!
Jane: How will children ever earn their proper cavities?
Me: Right? It’s bad enough they’ll never know the exquisite pain of chomping down on a piece of aluminum foil with amalgam fillings.
Jane: I know! Where are they getting all this obesity if the candy is too small?
Me: I worked in public schools for over 20 years. It is disgusting the crap these kids shove down their gullets every day as their regular meal. Giant bags of chips, giant bottles of soda, etc. And then there’s the greasy, fattening, calorie-laden slop that passes for food in the lunch line. Kids who are on free or reduced lunch have to eat that junk. It’s no wonder so many kids are overweight.
Jane: It’s a shame. I heard schools get some kind of profit sharing for the soda.
Me: Yep. I have three chocolate bars left and then I’m out. Unless I decide to stash them in my pocket and call it a night, which I am seriously considering because I am freezing my ass off!
Jane: I thought maybe that was just an episode of Daria.
Jane: Daria, the cartoon. She was The Misery Chick.
Me: I never saw it. Is it on Netflix or Amazon Prime?
Jane: It was one of my faves. I think it used to be on MTV. I’m not sure who shows it now. She was an atypical high school kid, smart, droll, definitely would have been friends with her.
Me: I know I’ve heard of it before.
Jane: Everyone’s shut their lights off here. I’ll come by and help you eat your last pieces.
Me: Okay. I’m done, too.
Jane came down to my dad’s house with her bowl of chocolates. We sat at the dining room table chatting and grazing on leftover candy that neither of us really wanted to eat. But it was there, and if you, Dear Reader, can’t relate to that, then I kind of hate you. (No, I don’t.)
True to her word, Jane had saved me a set of plastic, glow-in-the-dark chompers and a packet of blood red syrup, which I am saving for the appropriate time and/or place and/or person(s).
The really cool thing is that I didn’t see a single Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump mask all night! I was visited by one clown, but that’s okay because it was short and cute, and all it wanted was chocolate. I don’t have a problem with clowns, in general, unless they’re laughing maniacally and coming after me with a chainsaw or other similar implement no legitimate, law-abiding clown should have in his or her possession, especially while wearing clown attire.
Speaking of clowns, since this is a post about Halloween, here’s one last trick or treat for you, depending on your point of view. Enjoy and happy (ridiculously belated) Halloween!
Name: Pogo the Clown (AKA John Wayne Gacy, Jr.)
Occupations: shoe salesman, building contractor
Hobbies: Jaycees, dressing up as a clown and entertaining for children’s parties and charity shows, active in the Democratic party (had his picture taken with First Lady Rosalynn Carter, wife of former President Jimmy Carter), killing boys and men between the ages of 9 to 20 years, sometimes while dressed as Pogo the Clown.
Current Status: deceased (lethal injection)
The end. For reals this time.