Halloween Freeloaders

The difference between 7:00 and 7:30 Halloween night is like night and day. Sub-7 is the time for dream princesses and fuzzy bears, Bob the Builders and Thomas trains and kitty cats with penciled whiskers and sweet little Pippi Longstockings. At 7:30, they let all the 12-14 year olds out, and one of two things happen: Either kids show up decked out in elaborate face paint and homemade costumes, or they come with no costume at all.

“And what are you supposed to be?,” I asked a costume-free 13. “I’m myself, man. Just myself.” As tempting as it is to let them have their thang, I don’t succumb to this most lame of all Halloween ploys. “Where’s the effort?,” I ask. “The what?” “The effort. It’s not a free ride. You got to put some of yourself into this thing. Why should I reward you for plain old door-to-door begging, which is what it is when you don’t throw some spirit into it?”

I’ve had this conversation five times already tonight. One kid just stood there, slack-jawed, holding out his gaping, overloaded pillowcase as if I were kidding. Told him to give it some thought, and shut the door.

Music: Herbie Hancock :: Yams

9 Replies to “Halloween Freeloaders”

  1. My comment of the night, when faced with a group of about 8 kids ranging in age from 5 to 15.

    Me: “OK, I have candy and vodka. Who wants what?”

    Group: “Candy!” (67%) “Vodka!” (33%)

    Me: “Anyone that said ‘Vodka!’ is too old to be trick or treating. You get nothing.”

  2. Woods is right about the letter box. (We call ’em mailboxes out here.) There is an edge to Halloween… a little implied anarchy. It’s “Trick or Treat?” No treat you get a trick. Hence the Smashing Pumpkins. Of course Billy was always dressing up….

    I took a digital photo of every group that came to the door. Told them it was for the mom of the house (the truth). After I got the photo, I told them it was really for the cops. Loved the expressions on the older 7:30+ crowd when I said that.

  3. Scot,

    No, they got candy. But only because they were in costume, and had said “Trick or treat!”

    Not only that, but every one of them said either, “Thank you,” or “Happy Halloween!”

  4. Scot, wasn’t this an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm? It didn’t have a happy ending. (Of course, no episodes do.) None-the-less, I love your “think about it”. Awesome!

  5. wow. you mentally out-maneuvered a 13-year-old. and then you felt like bragging about it on your website. you must be a great, great man.

  6. Geez Virgil. Why the attitude? I didn’t say or suggest anything about “mentally outmaneuvering” anyone. Just enjoyed the exchange, thought others might enjoy reading about it and sharing their own stories.


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