Tuesday, October 31, 2006


If it were even remotely a Jewish holiday, we’d probably call it Erev Yom Kol ha-Tzadikim.

Our neighborhood is rife with Little Ones, and so Hallowe’en Chez Elisson involves constant shuttling back and forth between den and foyer. As of this writing - it’s 8:07 pm - we’ve doled out candy to over 110 kids ranging in age from Barely Able to Toddle to Definitely Able to Drive. Everything from adorable babes-in-arms to high school-age honeys in outfits that seem to have been cobbled together at Victoria’s Secret.

Some advice: Kid, if you’re old enough - and dressed alluringly enough - to be giving Elisson a chubby, you do not need to be out trick-or-treating. Unless the alternative is turning tricks.

More advice: If I am handing out Air-Heads (a candy that most kids inexplicably love), do not ask me for a Coke. This is not a fucking restaurant. Extortion that is socially acceptable in its limited annual context, yes. Restaurant, no.

If you don’t live in this neighborhood but are trick-or-treating here to enjoy the Upscale Treats that you can’t get at home, fine - just don’t make a big fucking pumpkin-splattered, shaving cream-schpritzed, trash-scattered mess out of mine, capisce?

The drill is simple. If you’re old enough to speak and you don’t know it, then you have no business being out on the We’en Streets:
  • Ring the doorbell. Once. When SWMBO or I open the door, speak the Ritual Invocation: “Trick or treat.” You may append the additional benediction, “Smell my feet. Give me something good to eat” at your option.
  • We will deposit a Sweet-Meat of our option into your Candy-Carrying Device. What, you do not have a Candy-Carrying Device? Bad form. It means you do not take the Ritual seriously. You are a Hallowe’en Dilettante.
  • Do not request alternative types of Sweet-Meats; do not request beverages. Exceptions to the latter will be considered only in the event you are (1) extremely weak, (2) extremely cute, (3) personally known to Yours Truly, and (4) clearly dying of thirst.
  • Upon receiving your Sweet-Meat, you should say, “Thank You” and then be on your way. Omitting the Ritual Expression of Gratitude - no matter how little gratitude you actually feel - is nekulturny.
SWMBO has no problems dressing down the ones who do not know that the Forms Must Be Obeyed; she’s a teacher, after all.

I don’t want to seem a Hallowe’en Grump. I can remember when I was of trick-or-treating age, and how excited I was to inspect the haul after a long, cold evening’s door-to-door trek. I’m old enough to remember getting small paper sacks of loose candy corn or other detritus, back in the years before everything was Sanitized and Hermetically Sealed For Your Protection. I even remember one elderly lady who would have us in for doughnuts and hot cider. Those days are gone, alas.

I remember taking our daughters, hand in hand, to canvass our neighborhoods: first in Atlanta, then later in Connecticut. One cold, rainy Hallowe’en in particular stands out, with Elder Daughter, all of nine years old, dressed as Marilyn Monroe. I held the umbrella as they made the collection; later, we all drank hot chocolate by the fire.

Now it’s time for the young parents and their kids to create those Hallowe’en memories. I just want a hot chocolate and a few minutes without having to answer the bell.

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