Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Trick or Treat

By Martha Reed

I can’t say there’s a nip in the air – the temperature registered 76 degrees yesterday and I’m still sleeping with my window open – but we are cruising toward my absolutely favorite holiday of the year – Halloween.

Oh sure, Christmas is great with all the presents, but really, who needs a set of monogrammed pillowcases that will only end up on the church bazaar linen table anyway? Give me Halloween, when I can eat Baby Ruth candy bars guiltlessly and watch my male friends parade around wearing wigs, dressed in their wives’ clothing. The shyest of kids reveals their true inner nature when he quietly states that he wants to be dread Lord Vader this year and tom-boy decides – for the first time ever – that she wants to be a fairy-tale princess.

In Aspinwall, PA, Halloween is a big to-do. Eleven years ago, when I bought my house, the owners warned me about the landscaper at the end of my street – each year Mr. Halloween buys a great pumpkin that draws every trick-or-treater in a four township radius. I go through 260 pieces of candy annually, no lie. Last weekend, I stopped by to check on things and Mr. H was staying true to form: this year’s specimen weighs in at 672 pounds and he needed a forklift to lift the pumpkin up onto his front porch.

However, the in-town competition is heating up. This past summer we welcomed a new neighbor, a transplanted Frenchman who is embracing this most American of holidays (come on, be honest, does anyone really like Thanksgiving?) We’ve been hearing a lot of hammering coming from Monsieur’s garage lately, and last Sunday he unveiled his masterpiece by transforming his porch into a fully-fledged pirate ship complete with ghostly crew and a working gangplank. The poor headless skeleton I hung in my dogwood is looking a little beat by comparison. I may have to break down this year and buy that fog machine.

The best part of Halloween, of course, is the kids. I am not kidding when I say that on October 31st, from 6:00 to 7:30 PM my street looks like Mardi Gras. I’ve got hordes of shrieking Ninja turtles and gangly, teenage Goth monsters who I’ve know since the day they were born. Some of them may be a little old for Trick or Treat, but what the heck, if you play, I'll pay.

14 comments:

Tory said...

I like Thanksgiving. A day to sit around and do nothing but eat. I mean, what could be better?

Your neighborhood sounds like a great place to be on Halloween. My street has just the wrong number of kids: too many to give it up, not enough to make it interesting. I think I'm going to my yoga class this year. At least it will be better for my waistline than leftover candy!

Martha Reed said...

Tory, you're welcome to come over here. : ) My house is ground zero for alot of folks that night which might explain some of the crush...

Tory said...

Thanks, Martha, but how will I keep up my curmudgeon identity if I actually seek the company of the little weasels? :-)

jody said...

We've been in our house for seventeen years and have never had a single trick-or-treater. Of course, the fact that our driveway is a 1/4 mile dirt road that borders a cemetary might have something to do with that...

Gina said...

Trick-or-treaters have ranged from a low of three to a high of thirty-something over the years. Some look like they're in college but, what the hey, I give them candy anyway.

kathie said...

Martha, very funny post. I can picture the streets of Aspinwall (I love that town) bursting with masked kids. And, it sounds like, just as many adults. Halloween is not my favorite holiday, but I guess that's partly why we're so lucky to have so much to choose from, huh? Have a great time the next week or so and I hope it lives up to your expectations!

Joyce said...

When my kids were little, we got a lot of trick or treaters--well over 100. I don't even think we had 20 last year.

I've decided recently that my goal is to be the house where no one wants to go. I want to be the crotchety old lady that everyone is afraid of. I don't think I have far to go for that...

Nancy said...

Fog machines are half price at Party City. Uh . . . but let me get there first, okay, Martha?

ramona said...

Martha, please do not diss Thanksgiving. It is my favorite holiday. As Tory said, you sit around, you eat and (in my case) drink, you watch parades, you be thankful and, best of all, THERE ARE NO PRESENTS. Not even candy. It is a perfect holiday.

I'm sorry I had to yell.

Annette said...

A pirate ship? Don't suppose the French guy has Johnny Depp hidden in there somewhere as Captain Jack Sparrow? Ya never know...I hear Mr. Depp lives in France these days.

Martha Reed said...

Cap'n Jack Sparrow? Hummmm...never thought of that - I may just have to run over and see if dreams come true...

Gina said...

Hush about the pirates, or I'll have to repeat my Barnacle Jack poem. But enough about decorations. How about costumes? What's the best costume you've ever come up with?

My favorite is one I wore to a folk dance party. I wrapped myself in a pink blanket and wore a plastic pig nose. I was a pig in a blanket!

Joyce said...

Gina, that's a great costume!

I want to be Xena, Warrior Princess.

Susan said...

Martha, I'll be sure NOT to tell my kids about the 600+ pound pumpkin. They would be camped out on your street starting tomorrow! Great post.