So, I have this dog. He’s a Havanese. He weighs all of 9 pounds, he’s adorable, he’s extremely friendly, and most of the time he’s pretty chill. He basically only barks for two reasons:
1.) When someone walks past the house, and
2.) When someone rings the doorbell.
Unfortunately, tonight is Halloween, which means for two hours straight we will have two things happening:
1.) People walking past the house, and
2.) People ringing the doorbell.
Last year we had a record-breaking number of trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood. I actually ran out of candy before the 2-hour time limit ran out. (I have to say, I do appreciate living in a town that regulates trick-or-treat hours. If I lived somewhere like where my brother lives in New Jersey, where trick-or-treat is a free-for-all and people can show up at your door at any time of day or night on Halloween, my dog and I both would be total neurotic messes by midnight.)
So this year, I bought lots of extra candy, just to be safe. Which can only mean one thing: if we end up with a decrease in trick-or-treaters, I’m going to end up 5 pounds heavier by next week.
I guess you could say I’m not exactly excited about Halloween.
Sure, there’s a lot of things I do like about Halloween. (Except candy corn, of course—the most vile candy creation in the history of candy.) I enjoy dressing up in costume every once in awhile. I like a good Halloween party. I like decorating with pumpkins. I don’t mind a classic scary Halloween movie every once in awhile. I even embrace pumpkin spice flavoring. And of course, I miss the days of dressing up the kids and taking them door to door. Those are some great memories.
But, like many things that lose their appeal when you get close to the Empty Nest phase, Halloween—more specifically, Trick-or-Treat night—is becoming almost more of an annoyance than it’s worth. I’m not quite ready to turn off the porch light and pretend we aren’t home for two hours. I always thought those people were the mean, old Halloween Grinches, and I’m not quite ready to be one of those YET. Especially the “old” part.
Also, I don’t really want to actually leave the house and open ourselves up to Halloween pranks. Although—do kids today even know how to do a Halloween prank?? Does anyone out there still go “corning?” For anyone who did not have the pleasure of growing up in rural Pennsylvania, “corning” is when you collect dried ears of corn from the fields and shuck them into brown paper bags or pillow cases, so that after dark you can throw handfuls of corn against neighbors’ front doors, where they make a really cool rat-tat-tat sound like sleet or hail spraying against the house, and then you run away as fast as you can… That was the low-level mischief the “good” kids used to get into at Halloween. The “bad” kids would go “soaping,” meaning they’d take bars of soap and write or draw on car windows. If they were REALLY bad kids, they’d write curse words. And if they were REALLY, REALLY bad kids, they’d go egging or pumpkin smashing.
I wouldn’t think we’d have much to worry about in my neighborhood, but I do recall a few years ago a teenager showing up on my front porch with no costume, smoking a cigarette, and saying, “Trick or treat.” And I did give him a piece of candy—the most crappy one I could find, like a snack-sized Clark bar—just in case he had an egg or a bar of soap in his coat pocket…
So, that’s why my porch light will be on tonight. If you have little kids and you stop by my house, I promise I’ll put on my best smile, even though I might only crack open my door just wide enough to drop some candy into your kid’s bag, but not wide enough for my crazed barking dog to escape…
And when it’s over, I’ll have a giant glass of wine and toast to it finally being November.