Halloween: the day of the dead and a night of costumes, carving pumpkins, and nervous parents reminding children never to eat opened candy for fear of Ebola or something. I’ve always enjoyed the holiday—the houses dimly lit with lanterns and candles, spider webs weaved in and out of bushes, and tombstones lining the streets always make for a hauntingly beautiful atmosphere, but this year my Halloween was one of embarrassment and confusion.
While my friends were all at the football game, my brother was at a “Halloween Bash” of his own, and my parents decided to go out to a friend’s party, leaving me with my nine-year-old cousins, and my neighbor’s five-year-old, all of whom were professionals at trick-or-treating by this point. It was an easy task; when my mother instructed me to babysit them it left me with a perfect opportunity to join them in their quest for a full pillowcase of candy.
As the night grew dark, three normal elementary school children emerged from the basement transformed into a Power Ranger, Bugs Bunny, and Thing 1 without his doppelganger. With that, we left the house to begin our venture.
I was ecstatic to trick-or-treat. In the spirit of the holiday I had dressed up as Scream—a perfect combination of scary and laughable. With my mask, long black gown and small plastic bag in hopes of picking up a stray Snickers or Kit-Kat, I might have been more eager than the kids.
The beginning of our journey went swimmingly. As we made our way through the first couple neighborhoods we managed to rack up an impressive amount of candy thanks to the numerous “please take one piece,” bowls that were left outside the houses—needless to say, we emptied them. But then we reached the corner house on Lyndale Avenue, or the beginning to the end of my trick-or-treating career.
My little cousin ran toward the door, ringing the bell an obnoxious amount of times before it was opened by a lady wearing what looked to be a very frazzled and poorly constructed Pippi Longstocking costume. She was welcomed by a chorus of “Trick-or-Treat,” as more youngsters approached her doorstep. She set out a box of candy bars on a wooden stool only for it to be viciously attacked by the group of sugar-rush-seekers.
As I made my way for one of the last Twix bars left in the box she said, “So, which one is yours?”. I continued for my Twix bar only for it to be snatched from my fingertips by a batman. “None of them, I guess,” I said gesturing at the empty box. I turned to walk away and that’s when she repeated the phrase, “Which one is yours?” Suddenly, I started to panic. She was talking about the children standing around me.
I grew redder than the kid in the devil costume as I searched for any excuse I could come up with. Hidden behind my mask, I summoned my deepest, and most fatherly voice. “Uh, that one,” I lied pointing to an unfamiliar pikachu, whose parent gave me a suspicious glare. I quickly turned around and jogged back to the street.
Sweating profusely, I took off my smothering mask to breathe in some air that wasn’t my own embarrassed panting. Just then, some of my friends, all dressed as lumberjacks, turned the corner onto the street I happened to be trick-or-treating on. They came up, flaunting their unoriginal costumes, and laughed at my situation.
“Nice dress, Sister Jeanne,” they mocked, “We didn’t know you joined the convent.” I fumbled with a poorly executed Paul Bunyan retort, as they rolled their eyes and pushed past me, laughing their heads off.
As I walked home, crestfallen, I imagined my brother at his “Halloween Bash,” fist-pumping to the Monster Mash, and eating caramel apples. I wished I was his younger brother–that I could show up to strangers’ houses in an intensely-realistic costume and ask for sweets without being thrown a patronizing glance.
We reached my house, the children’s bags overflowing with Jolly Ranchers and Pixie Stix, and my own containing a single toothbrush, and a hand-me-down copy of Harold and the Purple Crayon. With my spoils of defeat lying next to me, “Friday the 13th” playing on the TV, and my self-confidence at an all time low, I came to the conclusion that I am most certainly too old to trick-or-treat.