The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Halloween Apples!

by Steve Gajadhar

Halloween is almost upon us, and I have to confess that I’m going to be skipping giving out candy this year and heading out for drinks instead. It’s a one time thing, and I hope not to repeat it next year, we just moved into a new area and I don’t want the neighbours to think I’m a Halloween Avoider. The act of skipping out on candy giving has helped me recall all the colorful characters my friends and I ran into as a trick or treaters. I like to think of them as my Halloween archetypes and I’ve rated them based on the number of eggs we later bombarded their houses with (I know, I know, but I was a good kid, just a little misguided at times). My list is by no means complete, and I invite you all to add to it.

Halloween Humbugger
A humbugger in general, not just at Halloween. This guy shooed us off his area of the street, claimed we dented his car with our skateboards, or just shook his fist at us anytime we violated the 30’ diameter of his crotchety-old-man-personal-space. Ironically, he always served up candy to us on Halloween. Well, not candy, just a bowl full of unshelled peanuts. Perhaps this was his form of atonement, or perhaps he just got us in his house to do away with us but could never follow through with the act itself.
Rating: 5 out of 5 eggs. This guy had it coming, and no amount of peanuts was going to make up for a year of treating us like cretins.

Halloween Avoiders
The lights are out but there is somebody home. The glow of the TV through the drawn drapes always gave them away, yet no amount of knocking every brought them to the door. Shadowy movements didn’t help either.
Rating: 1 out of 5 eggs. At least go somewhere, and if they had actually left the house, well, mistakes were made.

Dog Owners
Of vicious, kid-eating dogs that strained to get at us during the entire candy transaction. “Oh don’t worry about Killer, he just wants to come say hi.” Uh-huh.
Rating: 4 out of 5 eggs. 2 for the house for raising such a vicious dog, and 2 for the damn dog.

Crazy Old Ladies - the good kind
Responsible for 5-10 minute delays, and the subsequent damage to our candy quotas, due to story telling and photo showing. Stories were followed by a cash offering of 5-25 cents in lieu of actual candy.
Rating: 0 out of 5 eggs. Come on, there is misguided youth, and then there is evil.

Crazy Old Ladies – the bad kind
Always given away by the smell - a mixture of cat urine and various forms of ointment - and/or age spots shaped like animals. Purveyors of the infamous popcorn balls and apples, which our parents were duty bound to throw out due to razor blade and poison concerns. Guilty of fist shaking, shoeing us out of gardens that we were never actually in, and of knocking on my parents’ door to blame me for the latest mishap in their lives.
Rating: 1 out of 5 eggs. Only because they always had sons to clean it up and the egging was always evaluated on a case by case basis.

“Trick” People
The ones who actually expected a trick after hearing, “trick or treat!”
Rating: 2 out of 5 eggs just for being annoying.

Candy Thugs
In my neighbourhood, the older kids used to roam in packs and beat our candy out of us if we couldn’t outrun them. This was just one of the many dangers we faced by collecting candy without parental supervision, and one that necessitated frequent candy drops at home to keep the candy bag light enough for decent foot speed.
Rating: 3 out of 5 eggs. The number of eggs was mitigated by two things: the beating from actually hitting them, and the knowledge that at some future time, we would be the older kids and duplicate the behavior.

That’s it for me. I didn’t mention all the good experiences - like corner store owners, or gaining access to apartment jackpots when we could sneak by security - only because they were by far the norm, and who wants to write about the norm?

Now, I have to hope I don’t get confused for an Avoider, or else hope that the little buggers hit an easy to reach spot.

Happy Halloween everyone!


Blogger Andrew Tibbetts said...

Loved the post! Loved the picture! I was always too much of a goody-goody to 'egg' houses. In my apartment building this year, the management is setting up a candy post in the lobby so that kids won't go door to door through the building. Probably a good thing in my building. There are several apartments that would give out crack.

Tue Oct 30, 10:45:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

Oh, I hate Avoiders. What's the big deal about answering the door and handing out a little candy? (Or, something healthier if you're so inclined.) We had only a few kids last year -- quite disappointing -- so this year I got really big candy bars to reward those few. I'm going to give them a choice of a candy bar or a loonie. Does that make me a genuine old lady, Steve?

Loved the post. Lots of fun.

Tue Oct 30, 04:53:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Steve Gajadhar said...


And if you give out big bars, Tricia, you go on the never egged again list!

Wed Oct 31, 12:47:00 am GMT-4  
Anonymous HauntedShirley said...

Really enjoyed this post!
I came this close to being an avoider this kids at home, no kids next door...come to think of it, the only kid left in the neighborhood doesn't participate in pagan festivals of any type, sigh. But last night, I broke down and carved a pumpkin, decorated the window, filled a bowl with I just have to get my photo albums organized and I'm ready to rock! Come on kiddies...I won't bite you :)

Wed Oct 31, 01:27:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

So, it's all over and 15 big candy bars remain for Colin to polish off. We had three kids -- three! Adorable little ones with their parents in tow. I gave them a choice of a big candy bar or a loonie. Two kids took the loonie and a teeny little witch took a candy bar. "Good for you!" her mom said. "That's what I would have picked."

Thu Nov 01, 12:23:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger MelBell said...

Oh, I remember getting unshelled peanuts. The worst. And apples and popcorn balls were equally sneered at. I remember sometimes people would hand out quarters or dimes - whether or not you showed up with Unicef boxes. Chocolate and chips were the faves.

I had tons of kids at my door this year. My mom was hilarious. I had to pull her off door duty.

Her: "But they're all so cute!"

Me: "Mom, they're here to get their treat and leave quickly - they're not here for a freaking conversation!"

Sun Nov 04, 11:51:00 am GMT-5  

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