Halloween in our beach-house-not-on-the-beach neighborhood is just plain weeny. On our street, only one house even plunked a pumpkin out on the porch. It’s pretty dead around here.
The “youngsters” in this part of the ‘hood are the newly retired. When “walkers” sometimes refers to the three- or four-wheeler kind and folks are pushing 70, 80, and even 90, no one expects Trick or Treaters to come calling.
The giant bag of Halloween candies I purchased in Charlotte before I knew where we’d be on Halloween remains on the dining room table there. It never occurred to me to bring it to the beach. That means I’ll probably have to eat it all myself.
When the doorbell rang about 7:30, I’d even forgotten it WAS Halloween, so when I looked out and saw three kids, I panicked.
Why was the porch light on? Dearly Beloved is a switch flicker, a one-man light show. Mornings, he’ll walk into the kitchen and turn on every light, saying, “Let’s get a little light on the subject.” Burns my biscuits. I don’t like to show the whites of my eyes until after three cups of coffee. Anyway, my point is, he had turned the porch light on for no good reason other than to “Let there be light.” An invitation to the mosquitoes and tree frogs, maybe.
The Trick or Treaters standing at our front door saw it as a neon sign indicating “TREATS!!! TREATS!!!”
These were, I would guess, pre-teens. Two girls and a boy. No costumes, just big expectations. I think the pillowcases they carried were king-sized. If I’d brought my candy stash, I could have given them handfuls, but I had nothing. What now? RUN!
“Who was at the front door?” DB asked when I jumped the dog gate into the kitchen and flattened myself against the wall.
The doorbell rang a second time.
“Trick or Treaters!” I gasped, in the same voice I’d probably use to announce, “Guys in ski masks carrying AK-47’s!”
He looked unfazed. “What do you have for them?”
What do I have for them??? Oh yeah, I remember now. . . the promise to love, honor, and have candy on hand for Trick or Treaters.
He climbed over the gate and went to open the front door. (Hey, the granddog puppy and Miss Piggy are here; the gate STAYS! There’s white carpet on the other side.)
“Hold on a minute,” he told the kids. “She’s looking.” He came back into the kitchen, expectantly.
“Bananas? We have three.”
“NO!” he answered, horrified at the suggestion. “We can’t give Trick or Treaters bananas.”
“Unpopped microwave popcorn? Quarters?”
“Get three singles and we’ll give them each a dollar,” Mr. Big said, but neither of us had any ones. I had a twenty. Would they have change?
I opened the pantry again and found a box of Sweet and Salty granola bars. Cashew! There were exactly three bars inside. DB headed back to the front door and dropped one into each cavernous pillowcase.
The girls seemed quite pleased, but I’m not sure about the boy. When DB asked him how he got lucky enough to be traveling with two girls, he didn’t answer. One of the girls quickly explained, “Little brother!”
Good. She could take his bar away from him.
As soon as the kids headed back to the street, I told DB, “Quick! Turn off the porch light!”
He said… in all seriousness… “No, we don’t want to turn the light off yet. There may be more Trick or Treaters.”
Sure. Wonder if they’d rather have canned tomato soup or bran muffin mix.
Bless his heart, I didn’t realize what a young-at-heart guy he really was. He must have been “in character” for Halloween. I’m guessing The Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz.
Wasn’t he the one without a brain?