As is typical of the way I roll, I decided again this year not to decorate the house for Hallowe’en. The house would remain dark and I, the Grinch who stole Hallowe’en, would give out no candy and I would seek refuge with the nice folks across the street. Then, two days before the event, the guilt set in. I used to go all out for the day…decorations, elaborate treats, the whole nine yards. Nobody would walk away from our house disappointed. (They might be licked silly by our pack of random hounds, bitten by the trail of ants invading the innards of the carved week-old, oozing pumpkins on the porch or trip on the discarded hose and garden detritus –thus breaking a leg– but we could guarantee excitement.) In my old age, I’m lazy.
But I realized that my immediate neighbours to the left and the ones across the street do have young children I like and with whom we interact regularly. Surely they’d be crushed if I didn’t acknowledge them in some small way. But I couldn’t just buy them crap candy. Not only do they have more advanced palates, they have been raised to appreciate more sophisticated approaches to each and every holiday. No princess or ‘Frozen’-themed costumes for Hallowe’en…think Andy Warhol with oversized bag (with tomato soup can decoration) for a candy holder…complete with appropriate speech about the artist! (The child clearly knows who he is, but I’m not sure the other residents in our area do.) So, I thought, at the last minute, that I’d take myself to the local fancy Italian food store to find some delightful chocolate treats specially for Hallowe’en.
Such things did not exist. No, because we’re onto Christmas in the stores. I didn’t think the children in question would get the point of candy canes or chocolate Santas this early in the season. Fact is, I don’t get the point myself. But I realize that, with my Johnny-Come-Lately attitude, I should have expected there to be no stuff left for the particular holiday I was trying to celebrate. You have to be on top of these things — which I definitely am not.
Having struck out at the Italian store, I recalled that there was a lovely chocolate shop in a nearby mall. I could see the mall but couldn’t get to it since our entire city is being torn up with construction for a new light rail transport system. I drove around in circles for 15 minutes before finding the entrance to the mall…only to find that the store no longer existed. Out into the traffic I went, round and round in the same circles, heading for the local craft supplies store. Kids always like craft supplies. The bin at the front of the store filled me with a sense of foreboding. All the Hallowe’en stuff was on sale — 60% off. There appeared to be three items in the bin, none of which any sane person would want. I know — that meant they had my name written all over them. But I didn’t bite. I gave up, my frustration growing.
When I returned home, Crazy D called out his welcome. At that precise moment, the bag of bagels I was holding slipped from my hand, spreading bagels and sesame seeds all over the hall. I scooped up the bagels (three second rule), uttered my NOT first expletive of the day and then burst into hysterical laughter. I’ve been doing that a lot lately. The Pig came to see what was happening. She sniffed the floor momentarily and then, this dog who never passes up any kind of food, turned her nose up and waltzed away. The sesame seeds remainued on the tile, inviting the next passerby to slip and fall on them. Beaten and cranky, I fed The Pig her luncheon chicken soup. Then we took to our beds for a nap — in my case, fortification for the next trip into the world in the afternoon. It was a LONG nap. I woke up to discover that Crazy D had gone out — so as I left the house, I wrote him a note:’Gone out to waste more valuable time. Be back when I’ve wasted enough…’
Getting into the car at 3:30, I realized I was flirting with rush-hour traffic. But I made it to the chocolate emporium in a nearby small town in record time (if any cops are reading this, absolutely NO speeding limits were breached — well, not too many) and selected two bags of orange decorated truffles for the neighbour kids. Since I had blurted out the sad story of my frustrating day to the lovely clerk, she took pity on me (likely wanting me out of the store quickly before I scared the other customers) and added orange and black ribbons to ‘festive things up’ a bit.
But Crazy D saved Hallowe’en for us. Emergencies happened and by the start of the trick-or-treating hour, L’il Sis and I were exhausted. He went out with the neighbour kids, covered in his flappy orange rain cape and the turkey bonnet Gill gave me years ago for Thanksgiving. It has been, for all these years, our go-to costume for almost every dress-up occasion. So thanks again, Gill. That’s the best two dollars you ever spent!