This year my kids and I were unfaithful to our neighborhood by choosing to join our friends, the “L’s,” in their neighborhood. Mr. L loves Halloween. Mrs. L says she can take it or leave it, but she still was the most ghoulish hostess.
Mr. L had his supersized garage man-cave all decked out with decorations, burgers and dogs kicking off the night, punch filled with candied insects for the kids, chips, dips and no, no whips, but there were a few axes and scythes! He hitched up his flatbed trailer to his massive SUV, filled the bed with bales of hay and BAM! instant hayride for the Halloween Express.
The homes in Mr. and Mrs. L’s neighborhood sit on over an acre of property with driveways a mile long. So, needless to say, the kids really had to earn their candy, especially when they trekked down or up a driveway and no one answered. This was extremely inconsiderate on the homeowners end; after all it’s Halloween. Everyone knows that lights on or lights off send the message as to whether or not you are a Halloween scrooge.
Mr. L drove that trailer all around the sprawling neighborhood as we, adults included, hopped on and off, traipsing from house to house. Expressions such as “I got a big stash!” to “We cleaned that house of candy!” could be heard from door to door.
Some of the homes really went overboard with their decorations. One house had about ten blow up, creepy decorations such as a twenty foot light up cobweb with a giant spider, a giant blow up gargoyle and a really cool blow up cemetery. Some homes were staged with the Texas chainsaw guy lurking in the woods ready to frighten the kids. Other homeowners just took sheer pleasure when the trick or treaters shouted “Thank you! Trick or Treat! Happy Halloween!!”
We exited the neighborhood and paraded to the local country store. We were probably breaking a hundred laws by having thirteen kids hanging from an open flatbed, no seat belts, no air bags or safety harnesses, but Mr. L was only driving about 15 MPH and it was Halloween; a day when rules may be broken a little. Of course when Mr. L got all giddy and bumped it to 30, well that was a joy ride! Yee Haw!!
Anyway, we drove past the local country store where some of the locals were hanging outside, drinking beer, playing corn hole and shooting the breeze. We hollered and screamed “Trick or Treat!! Happy Halloween!!” The owner of the establishment ran inside and grabbed bags of candy. She came running out and started throwing candy at us to catch. Kids giggled and grabbed, the corn hole spectators cheered in the background and, with the pillow cases starting to get heavy, we journeyed up the country road some more.
Mr. L insisted we stop at this old, historic landmark house on the hill. Upon reaching the historic site, the kids read the plaque that noted the history of the dwelling. They were mesmerized that a home could be so old; 1900!! "Is it haunted?" one kid questioned. So when no one answered, even though the lights were on, they acted as if standing on the hallowed grounds was enough of a treat. Or, perhaps the rather large boxer of the canine persuasion that came barreling toward the group was plenty of trick for treat.
Onward we turned onto a dirt road scattered with random country homes. I don’t think the residents of the homes expected any trick or treaters. So, imagine this little old lady’s surprise when thirteen ghosts and goblins appeared at her door shouting “Trick or Treat!!” This dear, sweet lady stood there for a moment, looking perplexed. I was a little concerned and felt badly for interrupting her evening, but she was delighted as she began counting the figures that stood before her. In a sweet, Southern drawl she said, “Naw, y’all sit still fo a moment.” She stepped away for a second and returned with thirteen mini moon pies for each child. Then she said in her sweet, Southern drawl, “Naw, be shaw I deen’t miss anyone. Ya shaw y’all got somethin’? Y’all come back naw if I missed anyone. Promise?”
Traveling to the next country home, the kids ran up and then ran back screaming, “This was no trick!” this home, that had on their lights, also had signs that read, “Go away,” “Do Not Enter,” and “BEWARE!” The children rattled off in distinct detail, “Gun shot shells covering the front porch, trash all over and beer cans too. These people mean business!! That’s a scary place!”
With our joy ride coming to an end, it was time to head back to the L’s house for the kids to take stock and accounting of their earnings. They sprawled the candy onto the garage floor, itemized, and then traded what they did or did not desire. Once they made note of their inventory, all jacked up from a sugar high, they ran rampant all over the L’s property, throwing footballs, chasing one another, just being kids and having fun.
Mr. L made an announcement for all to hear. It was a very important announcement:
“November 1st is a national holiday. No school tomorrow!!”
This sent the kids into an even greater tizzy as they shouted, “Yay, no school tomorrow!!”
If such a wish could come true, perhaps, but sadly for the children, this was just an announcement made by an overgrown kid upset that his favorite holiday was coming to an end. Having to burst the bubble of the Hubba Bubba, my kids expressed minimal drama at their displeasure that I would not go along with the L’s tradition of All Saints Day being a revered and sacred holiday. My tween Lord of the Rings Orc, little Ring Wraith, and 70’s Retro Disco Chick didn’t put up too much of a fight as they were pretty beat from their event filled day.
Home safe and sound, tired, and along with their stash of treats, good memories filled their pillow cases.
Thanks L Family for your wonderful hospitality and for bringing out the kid in all of us!!