Saturday, October 29, 2011
A Halloween Tale, no. 2: Lima beans, rolls of tape, and cans of tuna.
On this particular Halloween I decided to accentuate the 'trick' part of the holiday. And so it began.
Rather than making the house scary or simply handing out candy in a boring manner, I decided that this year I would give tricks to all the treaters who came to the door. So, with my willing accomplice Pieter, I headed to the local dollar store to find things for the pumpkin baskets. The criteria for choosing an item was the biggest bang for the buck. We walked the aisles looking for anything that sold as ten items for a dollar, but eventually we just wound up buying funny and unusual "treats". I remember purchasing toothbrushes, kitchen sponges, rolls of cheap tape, clothes pins, colored pencils, small cans of lima beans, small cans of tuna and cans of Vienna sausages. Pieter and I were laughing so hard while pulling these items from the shelves that a lady customer approached us to ask what we were doing. We explained our plan for the evening and she joined us in selecting items. I may have spent twenty dollars on all the items, I'm sure not much more.
That year I did not dress in a scary manner, or play scary music, or put blue lights in the front porch lamp. I wanted the house to seem as normal as any other day of the year. Trick or treating starts early on the Eastern Shore in Maryland with the youngest of the pumpkins starting their rounds before 5 o'clock. I remember the first knock at the door and I was slightly unprepared. I ran to the front window and peered through the sheer curtains. It was a princess in pink with her mother and father, she could hardly be four years old. There was no way I could give her a trick. I turned to Pieter and said, "You have to do this."
He picked up the bag of tricks and opened the front door. "Oh, what do we have here? A little princess with a tiara. Well, I have a can of tuna for you." After which he plopped the small can into her awaiting bag, smiled and closed the door. I was on the floor breathless, crushed for the little girl but also laughing because it truly was funny. (Is this unusually cruel?) Soon thereafter I was able to answer the door and drop the tricks into the awaiting bags and buckets. The endeavor got much easier as the older treaters started making their rounds, and we persevered in handing out the assortment of food items, kitchen utensils, art supplies and other things until the night ended.
Word of our shenanigans seemed to spread around that night as the older kids started asking for specific items when they came to the door. I remember the toothbrushes and art supplies being particularly popular, as were the sponges. We even had a few repeat visitors. Go figure. But I don't remember anyone asking for a can of lima beans.