Once a year, we open our door, flip on the light and wait for monsters to visit. We welcome them, in spite of their threats of tricks and unreasonable demands to smell their feet, with candy.
It’s my husband’s favorite holiday, far surpassing that of Thanksgiving or my birthday. He prepares in advance by selecting special treats, canceling any plans that don’t involve passing out fun sized candy bars and waiting in excited anticipation.
This year, he positioned himself by the door with a bowl of candy. He cracked his knuckles, stretched his arms, and bent over to touch his toes and stood back up like he was preparing for a half marathon.
“We’re in for a big night, we have to be ready. I can feel it,” he explained with unexplainable certainty as the clock ticked towards six o’clock.
Sure enough, a steady stream of visitors arrived shortly after the designated start time, one after another. The first friends of the night were a cluster of superheroes with shiny, plastic masks and capes.
They stood on the steps outside of the door, while holding orange pumpkin baskets and called out in unison, “Trick or Treat.”
A group of golden wig wearing princesses followed closely behind the boys. They gave a respectful thirty seconds to allow the superheroes time to walk down the steps and onto the sidewalk before bounding up to the steps to the door. Their parents waited at the edge of the sidewalk, close enough to give a pseudo impression of independence or to rush in at a moment’s notice.
Meanwhile, the giver of candy generously continued to pass out handfuls of candy as the night went on, and the visitors began to arrive by vehicle instead of on foot. They came from nearby neighborhoods where it’s not safe to knock on a stranger’s door and visitors are not welcomed with smiles and snacks.
We watched as an old van with a missing tail light and a wide array of dents puttered past our lookout point/house and pulled off to the side of the road to unload what seemed like 10 or 20 kids. They organized and dispersed as quickly as a group of sugar-crazed and costumed children are able to do under the direction of an over worked and exhausted set of adults.
They came to our house twice, assuming we wouldn’t notice perhaps because they were in disguise. With each visit, they held out their little bags and baskets, and some said thanks and others simply ran off once they had a few pieces of candy.
A straggler arrived after the group’s second visit, close to the end of the approved trick or treating hours, a tiny child with an eerie green glow to her face. She wore a mop on her head, dyed the same color, covered with cotton cobwebs. It was an elaborate but low-cost costume that was hard to forget. She was accompanied by her mother, a woman in a black hoodie with a huge purse on her shoulder.
“You can pick what you want,” the Candygiver leaned down and offered the dish of treats to the little girl.
Her brown eyes shone in the night, catching the porch light and reflecting it back like two cosmic stars. She reached into the dish with a pudgy green hand and grabbed a packet of Runts and Gobstoppers.
“Good choice, those are my favorite.”
The man nodded in encouragement, the green creature smiled up at him for a brief second of human connection. She glowed a brighter green, invigorated by the praise and strengthened with his kindness.
Then the little girl’s mother swooped in and smacked her hand, “Those are choking hazards.”
The woman glared at the man with butterfly wings for eyelashes that made their own wind with each flutter. The little girl dropped the hard candies and stepped back; she stared at the Candyman in anger at his betrayal. She wasn’t sure what a choking hazard was but her mama’s tone told her all she needed to know. Candyman was a bad man.
“Shame on you,” the woman said as she reached into the candy dish extracting no fewer than five bite sized Milky Way candy bars with orange and black striped artificial nails.
She shook her head in disappointment as she dropped the candy into her daughter’s bucket and went back for another handful of candy. This time, she included the dangerous Runts and feared Gobstoppers in her claw and dropped this loot into her purse. Grabbing her daughter’s hand, she marched down the steps and sashayed into the darkness of the night.
Until next year. Farewell and good luck, little green monster.