Time for trick or treat

This is my last column before Halloween, and I suppose I do have a bit of good news: Seems my bum knee is coming around sufficiently to allow me to hand out candy on the big night.

I’m not sure why I get such a kick out of giving the candy on Halloween. It’s not really in keeping with my attitude toward most holidays. I’m sure that Ebenezer Scrooge wouldn’t have been handing out candy, any more than he would have wished Bob Cratchit a merry Christmas. Maybe Scrooge would have said “boo humbug.” But Dickens doesn’t enlighten us regarding Scrooge and Halloween; his tale is all about that holiday in December.

There are the cute outfits so many kids wear, and that is a good reason for handing out candy. What I really enjoy, though, are the littlest ghosts, witches and goblins. And I think they are the real reason I love my annual job of candy dispenser.

Every year, there are a few. Toddlers, who can barely make up up the steps to the porch, who have absolutely no idea what’s going on. And you drop something sweet into their little sack or plastic pumpkin or whatever they’re carrying, and they look almost astounded.

Look at it from their perspective. One evening after supper, they find themselves being stuffed into some kind of outfit, and then they’re taken out into a world where everyone has gone weird. To some, it might be outright horrifying. I’d like to think that most, however, adjust, figuring it’s just one of the things they have to put up with in a world that’s run by grownups.

Some of these kids who successfully make that adjustment end up on my porch, being coached by responsible adults to say, “Trick or Treat,” which comes out sounding like anything from “Tick Neat” to “Wha!”

And somewhere during all the madness, it dawns on some of them that  they’re making out like bandits, getting all kinds of luscious loot. Occasionally I see a little light come on in some kid’s eye.

So it was with me. “Trigger Treat” I managed to get out that first year, after I caught on.

Before hand, the costume I had been stuffed into was a lion suit. It was some kind of plastic and it smelled bad. I could not see out of the mask. I was given a brown paper sack to carry. “What in the world is this all about?” I wondered.

I didn’t even say anything to the first person. “Trick or Treat?” a lady said, obviously overcome by my cuteness. And she dropped a piece of candy into my sack, as I could see when I lifted up my lion mask.

It could be described as a “ta-dah!” moment. Immediately I saw possibilities. And after being coached for a while, I got my “Trigger Treat” going.

I wonder if those little kids who get my candy are disappointed to learn that they can’t do the same thing the next night, and the next, etc. I know I was. It was a blow to find out that Halloween was one of those things like Christmas, which only came around every hundred years or so (or so it seemed to me at the time).

This year, I’m a little upset with the offerings I have purchased. I’m trying to cut back on sweets, so I did not buy stuff that I crave, like miniature Snickers and Reese’s miniatures. What I have should make kids happy enough.

My whole problem used to be that I wasn’t allowed to eat all my candy at once. I can still remember my grandmother saying, “You’ve got enough candy to give you sugar dye-bee-tees!”

That’s not the problem now. I’m the one who is supposedly imposing discipline on myself. But I confess to worrying that the candy won’t all get given out, which means I’ll have a supply of candy for which I do not particularly care.

I know, since I’m trying to cut back, that sounds good. Right. And if you believe that, I can get a good deal on a spaghetti farm.

What will probably happen is something like this: I’ll end up eating the candy anyway, to keep from wasting it. No, I’m not saving it until next Halloween. Only candy corn lasts that long, and I don’t have any.

Anyway, come on, little monsters, I’m ready for you. And I hope I get to see that little light come on in someone’s eyes.

••••

I’m a firm believer that every silver lining has a cloud. So having a bum knee that seems to be healing naturally has its down side.

While I was all crippled up, raking leaves was out of the question. Any kind of yard work was out of the question. And Alice was full of sweet sympathy for me and my pathetic situation.

But now, things are looking up in the knee department, which means they’re looking down in others. Seems the leaves are not raking themselves – something I consider totally unfair; we can put a man on the moon, we can conquer measles, why can’t some genius come up with self-raking leaves? Seems to me that would be a much greater discovery than neutron stars and quarks and stuff like that, which happened millions of years ago and we’re just now seeing them.

Our scientific minds need to be turned more towards the here and now. And while they’re at it, how about grass that grows to two inches, and stops? Isn’t that more intriguing than a black hole?

(EDITOR’S NOTE: David Nichol is a freelance writer who recently retired from the Times-Herald. He can be contacted at nicholdb@cablelynx.com.)