a pro script reader ponders movies, reading, writing and the occasional personal flashback

Monday, October 31, 2005


I grew up in the middle class suburbs of Long Island, where Halloween (at least between the ages of like 7 and 13) meant our parents turning us loose to hit as many houses as we could. It was the 1970s, and no one was afraid of anything.

So I have some Halloween anecdotes. Like the time when I was around 11, or 12, when I got dressed in my costume, and waited for my best friend Billy to come over so we could go trick-or-treating. And I waited. And waited.

Called his house, no answer. Waited. For hours. Freaking out. Valuable candy-collecting time slipping by, plus, you know, he was my best friend, and he had just vanished.

Finally, I learned that he had been so excited, that he ran outside, fell down his stairs, and broke his leg. He'd been in the hospital the whole time.

Or the time when I was with a small group of friends, and we went to a house where the owner apparently didn't like Halloween very much. So he sicced his dog on us. Bit one of my friends. (I have no memory of a hospital visit, so the bite might not have been that bad. But I think it did put a damper on the evening).

But my best Halloween anecdote didn't take place in October. It took place in July.

My parents had gone on vacation, leaving me and my younger brother with some family friends, out in some other random Long Island town (Patchogue? I think so). I must have been about 10, my brother 8, and this family's kids were probably about 8 and 9.

We were bored. I guess we didn't have much supervision. And we were hungry.

So someone (hell, probably me) decided that maybe we should go trick-or-treating. So we put together makeshift costumes (I think I was a tree -- AKA holding a few small branches in my hands. My brother held a newspaper; maybe he was a delivery boy. Or a newspaper).

And we started knocking on doors. In July. And I don't know if it was the novelty of it (or the fact that this was a simpler, happier time), but it worked.

As I remember, about a third of the people told us to get lost, or threatened to call the cops (I doubt they did; we weren't too concerned). The rest were amused, and gave us stuff, whatever they could find. A lot of people seem to have had candy lying around. We got a lot of pennies, which back then wasn't bad. My brother's nose got scratched by a really big dog, but he got over it. And by the end of the day, we all had a big bag of loot.

Shameless? Probably. And something that probably would never have worked, if someone else had tried it first.

But to this day, I've never had anyone knock on my door, trick-or-treating, in any part of the year except for Halloween. So I like to think that we were way ahead of our time.

Anyone else have any good Halloween anecdotes?


At 7:54 PM, Blogger writergurl said...

The best thing I ever got for Halloween wasn't even candy... and it wasn't given to me in our neighborhood.

See, me and my brother (greedy little snots that we were) decided that the BEST candy gathering place just had to be the apartment complex down the road. So, we talked our Dad into driving us down there. Little did we realize, most of those people were single 20 somethings with one thing on their minds... partying. Not giving candy to random kids!

So, we pull up and go door to door. No one's answering, and I mean NO ONE. Until. We knock on this door with lots of noise going on inside. The door flies and this dude who looked EXACTLY like Jimi Hendryx (but white) demands to know what the hell we're doing. Evidently, the guy either forget that it was Halloween or a LOT of recreational chemicals were doing his thinking for him. I vote for the later. So, we yell "Trick or treat!" and he answers "Hunh?" Awkward silence as 2 kids try to get over their disappointment and he tries to figure out his next move. He stands there for a sec, then his eyes light up, a scrawmy finger goes up in the air and he declares he's coming right back! We wait eagerly for our first chocolate of the night... what would it be? My brother's favorite candy bar was Milky Way and mine was Baby Ruth. Dare we hope for them?

He's gone for what seems like an eternity (we were never very patient about chocolate). Then, he re-appears, demands that we close our eyes and puts something HEAVY into our bags, just before slamming his door shut.

Our eyes fly open, we grin at each other thinking that's a massive amount of chocolate has made its way into our bags. At this point, we really don't care what kind it is!

Imagine our reaction when we looked down and found a piece of coral reef in each of our bags. We were sooooo crushed. My brother got mad and threw his over the balcony onto the asphalt. Just barely missing my Dad's car.

I saved mine. (I thought it was pretty.) I still have it to this day. Bet you guys don't have any of that candy left, huh?

At 9:05 PM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

That's great.

We live in a big apartment complex right now. There are kids who live here -- I've seen them. But not a single kid knocked on our door all night.

Sigh. Anybody want some leftover candy?

At 2:02 AM, Blogger Danny Stack said...

Good story Scott. Conjures up great images for the beginning of a charming coming-of-age tale!!

At 4:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: No kids knocking on your door

Perhaps your apartment building have what my old one did. A communal Halloween candy collection, from which the super doled out the treats to the kids. It was an effort to keep security as tight as possible, and to keep people from being bothered.

At 6:32 PM, Anonymous kristen said...

In Connecticut once, someone asked me & my friend if we wanted to get high. But we weren't very young (maybe 14?) and we were dressed like farmers' daughters, so maybe we'd inadvertently broadcast the international signal for "offer these children drugs."

Hey, in college I broke my leg on the way to meet someone at the library to let her borrow my class notes. She was so pissed, just like you with your friend. She emailed me like 5 times to tell me how rude I was not showing up. 2 days later, after my morphine drip had tapered off, I was able to make her feel guilty by telling her I'd broken 2 bones on my way to meet her. It was a pretty satisfying moment for me, but probably damned mortifying for her.


At 9:45 PM, Blogger oneslackmartian said...

In high school we went into a grocery store on Halloween and found the oldest woman working a cash register. We then went through her line with a shopping cart filled with nothing but apples and razor blades. We really thought this would be funny. It did produce the desired effect . . . and more.

We had no real intention of buying 25 pounds of apples and 400 razor blades. We were all 14 and had 75 cents between us.

Nevertheless, the store manager called 911, blah, blah, blah, the police gave us all a ride home. My first and last ride in a squad car.


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