The spooks are gone but my memory of them is not haunting. Halloween was a big disappointment for me this year.
Where were the little kids? I know I'm old-fashioned, but I also know what I like on All Hallows Eve. I want little ones pre-schoolers and kindegartners and grade school kids. They must have all been at an apple bobbing contest, because they weren't in my driveway or ringing my doorbell.
I was prepared for the usual onslaught but we don't get the same number of little gremlins here that arrived when I lived in town. On Fourth Avenue I had to be prepared for a minimum of a hundred bell ringers. The first year I was there I had to turn out the light early, running out of a candy supply that I thought was enough to feed all of Market Street School. I couldn't believe the sheer number of the candy guzzling hordes. Not so here in suburbia.
This year I bought this humongous bag of candy. Now I believe that any bag of 80 or 90 pieces of candy must contain two or three that I like. I mean what if there are leftovers? Someone has to be responsible. So, since there wasn't a gi-normous bag containing Milky Ways or Cadbury caramels, I settled for the big bargain runner-up, the sack with the peanut butter cups, KitKats, Almond Joys and Hershey Bars. There were also skinny little tubes of malted milk balls. I don't know who is going to eat those things.
Anyway, I got home from work soon after six noticing along the way the many costumed groups already traveling the sidewalks. I ran into the house, fed the cat and quickly dumped the entire bag of brightly packaged goodies into my usual huge bowl well, all but a couple of the peanut butter cups. Nobody's perfect. Lunch was a distant memory. I was ready for the doorbell, sit-down, doorbell, sit-down marathon.
The first ding-dong yielded four teenagers - not seventh grade type teenagers, but the drivers license, after-school-job type of teenagers. One wore a costume. They were all boys and they all had sacks. The next group was three more big guys with a middle school kid in a skeleton costume. All boys. The next doorbell brought three more teenage boys who were fun and funny, but no costumes. . . just big brown bags. The peanut butter cups and the KitKats were going fast.
After a half an hour I went to the door and finally found what I'd been waiting for - a very small, red-headed football player in a Buffalo Bills uniform, his proud dad watching protectively from near the bushes. "Trick or treat," he blurted, turning to his dad who nodded his approval. I held out the bowl and he plunged in with an open hand while dad counseled, "Just one." I smiled and encouraged him.
"Take another one." And then, "It's alright, Dad, not a busy night." When the little linebacker reached the bottom of the front steps, he turned to say thank you and he made my night. I should have quit then.
For the next 45 minutes I doled out peanut butter cups to men who were old enough to vote and seemed as if they were just collecting snacks for Monday night football. A few older kids were mixed in but after the disappointment of few costumes and even fewer small kids I figured I needed dinner more than distributing. I gave up a little early and shut out the light. I felt a bit like Scrooge . . . but not a lot.
The only girl who had come to the door was at least sixteen. She was with yet another bunch of boys and I think they arrived in a truck. Her costume was only a mustache but her giggle was cute. Not one little ballerina. No lady bugs, no tiny witches, no princesses in pink.
The worst part was I couldn't even picture my own little Princess of Boston and her little brother in their costumes. Their Halloween was cancelled. Their town in Massachusetts was one of those clobbered by the early nor'easter snow storm and had been without power since Sunday.
No electricity, no heat, no phone, no school, so naturally, no trick or treat. My little Hello Kitty with her small sidekick, the fuzzy brown monkey, have to wait until tonight for their Halloween.
My daughter has been charging her cell phone in the car while driving her frozen food to one friend's house or accepting a dinner invitation to another's. Flannel pajamas with feet were a godsend in a house that hovered around forty degrees. There were trees down all over their town that was eerily, totally black at night. Schools finally reopened Wednesday.
I do remember a few Halloweens that it snowed, just like I remember one that my kids roasted in their furry mouse and dog suits, but this scenario is an over-the-top Halloween they won't soon forget.
So tonight is their big night. I truly wish I could be a fly on the wall as they head out with their handled pumpkins and their light sticks. I could probably fill those little punkins with the contents of my candy bowl, although, somehow, mysteriously, the peanut butter cups are gone. Must have been some little gremlins after all.