Robbing Peter (and the kids) to pay Paul on HalloweenThe first year we had Halloween at our current home in Pierre, I came back from a trip to the old neighborhood to find Nancy madly popping popcorn and pawing through the cupboards in search of any loose candy that might be given to the next kid to ring the doorbell and shout “trick or treat.”
By: Terry Woster, The Daily Republic
The first year we had Halloween at our current home in Pierre, I came back from a trip to the old neighborhood to find Nancy madly popping popcorn and pawing through the cupboards in search of any loose candy that might be given to the next kid to ring the doorbell and shout “trick or treat.”
Nobody warned us what to expect when we moved from way up on North Grand down to a neighborhood next to the governor’s mansion. We had so little clue, in fact, that I loaded the kids — we had two pre-kindergarteners at the time — into the American Motors Rebel station wagon and drove up to our old neighborhood to do our own trick-or-treating among people we knew. We’d only moved out of that neighborhood a few days earlier, we didn’t know anyone in the new neighborhood, and the kids wanted to do their doorbell-ringing at houses where they’d played for the past couple of years.
That made sense to me. I wanted them to visit houses of people we knew, both for their safety and because I never liked the idea of barging in on strangers asking for candy.
We had a grand time. I parked in the driveway of our old house, and I can remember a sprinkling of snow covered the ground, so we must have had a storm system move through that day or the day before. We left the Rebel there and walked three or four blocks, then got back in the wagon and drove home.
My goodness, it was busy around our new place. I couldn’t find a parking spot on Capitol Avenue or Washington Street anywhere near the house. The sidewalks were alive with costumed kids, each carrying a bag or basket or plastic pumpkin or fake skull or gunny sack — anything to carry the loot away. They’d go to the governor’s mansion, then they’d come across the street.
Nancy had gone through every bit of candy she’d bought and there was no end to the number of kids stomping across the porch and pounding on the door. She said she was thinking of putting the popcorn into little bags. She had considered making popcorn balls but decided there just plain wasn’t enough time between visitors to start a major project in the kitchen.
Just about then the house shook from the pounding of fists on the door jamb. I went to answer and found half a dozen boys, each holding out a pillow case and shouting “trick or treat.” The temptation was to say “give me your best shot, fellas,” but we’d only been in the house a short time, as I said, and I wasn’t ready to start cleaning soap off the windows or replacing latticework under the porch.
“Yeah, sure, hang on a minute,” I said, keeping a stern face and hoping that might frighten then away before I had to come back and confess that we were all out of treats for the night but that if they gave me their names, I’d see that they each got a Baby Ruth or Milky Way in a day or so. I walked back to the kitchen, where Nancy had a few all-day suckers and an assortment of Tootsie Rolls on the counter.
I took a few and passed them around at the door, and she started going through the boxes that we hadn’t gotten unpacked. She found a few other snacks, and we kept just ahead of the horde at the door for the rest of the evening. When things finally quieted down, we had a couple of chocolate bars left, and they looked as if they’d been left a long, long time.
Jennifer and Scott, meanwhile, had dumped their loot onto the dining room table and were comparing notes, trading different kinds of candy, congratulating each other on a fine evening of trick-or-treating.
Just then, we heard footsteps on the porch, a knock at the door and some whispering. Three young people stood there, arms outstretched, treat sacks gaping open. Three kids, and two moldy chocolate bars. Hmm. I looked at the pile of goodies on the dining-room table.
“Uh, say, Jennifer and Scott,” I said. “I’ll pay you back tomorrow. Really.”