Ten years ago, I had moved, after Julie’s death, from our dream home in the countryside to a rental in a small northwestern Illinois town. This is how the first Halloween in the neighborhood took shape.
Halloween In Crystal Lake
The approach of Halloween, made inescapable by the appearance two weeks ago of the local Designated Decorated Dwelling, replete with a front yard full of cobwebs, giant spiders, dozens of real and imitation pumpkins, a few skeletons (including one embedded in a spider web), witches, ghosts, headstones, goblins, and an abundance of cornstalks a few houses down, has triggered a reassessment of my assumptions about the local population. I now belatedly suspect that the presence of such a large number of short people in the area, which I had attributed to a pandemic hormonal shortfall, is actually a function of of a significant proportion of the population consisting of a species locally known as “children.”
I am inexperienced in dealing with candy-grubbers on Halloween because in the decade we spent at living in rural Illinois, we only had – if we count each individual in each group – zero trick or treaters. Consequently, I queried my landlady about the number of costumed visitors I should expect. She let me know that a large number of urchins would likely appear at the door expecting individually packaged, glucose-rich, chemically preserved, name brand-bearing treats because our neighborhood is known as a “safe area.” (I plan to confront my Realtor regarding his failure to warn me that this homestead was oxymoronically known as a safe area and demand reparations in an amount equal to the cost of the candy bribes to be given to the pint-sized extortion experts on Halloween.)
Our landlady, noting that she often dressed as a witch to greet the trick-or-treaters, suggested I might do something similar. On consideration, I have decided that I will be disguised as a vacant house.
Credit Due Department: Photo by Dmitri Lytov – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Originally posted Oct 17, 2008 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of AllanShowalter.com