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©November 2002

Carol Jane Remsburg



Halloween 2002








This year as those in the past, my sister and I readied our families along with her neighborhood for the event.  Second only to Christmas, this is a holiday we try hard to make worthwhile for our kids, the trick-or-treaters, their parents, and ourselves.  It's not just the candy or the scary decorations that do it.  The mood for Halloween is pure fun with a dash of the macabre thrown in for excitement.


Hubby stays home and plays the humbug as our place never gets trick-or-treaters and he avoids all the rumpus having already endured Halloween music played throughout the house for several weeks in advance.  This is his chance to have a few hours of quiet so in his own way he looks forward to Halloween too. 


It was a mad rush from work to store for extra treats and then to home gathering up the child, costumes, music, boom box, and all the candy.  As the time change the Sunday before was bringing on dusk sooner our timetable had gotten tighter than I'd realized.  Erin, in her Gryffindor Quidditch robes, was eager to go.  We loaded up and away we went.


My grown-up nieces were already there and working away.  Our 'witch', Jamie, was busy stirring the chili while I was heating up the 'lil smokey' wieners in barbecue sauce and putting out the chips and dip.  Hey, this IS a party for adults too!  Meanwhile, my other niece, Sammi, 'web woman', and her hubby, Cory, were finishing up the decorations outside.  They had done nearly all the work with the candles in the bags, the special lights, creating the little hanging ghosts, draping the spider webs, and carving all the pumpkins.  Cory had even picked up some dry ice for good effects but because the weather had gone very cold, it wasn't smoking the way it should.  Sister Betsy's husband, Steve, an old hand with stage effects as a retired musician, showed us how it was done.  All it took was a little boiling water with the dry ice in small bowls strategically placed.  Voila!  It was like magic.


We were all racing to get ready before our first little ones arrived.  There is indeed a method to our madness.  The little ones we don't scare.  It's the slightly older ones, say from about aged ten on up that we have the best fun with. 


Cory was out on patrol in his scary 'monster' costume to see who was coming and depending upon age would creep them out by shuffling in hunchback fashion along side them up the drive.  Jamie was to setup as a pretend decoration 'witch' by the door only to leap up and surprise the kids as they walked up to the door.  Betsy and Sammi were inside ready to dole out the goodies.  And I, well, I was dressed all in black as well as a black robe with a hood to keep myself hidden.  My job was to scare them just as they were leaving once they thought all the tricks had been played.


Last year all this turned out tremendously well.  This year was different.  First of all the littlest ones came early and we still didn't have the music playing yet and worse, even though Cory wasn't trying to scare them just the sight of him not only put off the little ones but nearly their parents as well.  If a family friend hadn't pulled up with her three year old who leaped happily into Cory's arms, none of them would have even come up the drive. 


This was the time Erin had been waiting for.  Erin took our little ones trick-or-treating through the neighborhood with Adrion's mom tagging along.  They later said they had a good time but none of the other houses had decorated quite as much even though one house down the road was setting off firecrackers.  (Hmm, note to self for NEXT year.)


We got the music going and we were all in position after a few last minute adjustments to scary makeup.  We waited.  No trick-or-treaters.  Then Cory's parents, his dad, our 'vampire', came by in costume with Cory's youngest brother, about six.  We took pictures, chatted a bit, and kept an eye out.  Only one small group of four little ones, still none we could scare.  Sammi came out to visit me and ask me if I was cold.  I was still too excited to even think about being cold.  Jamie's boyfriend, Tim, wandered out for a chat.  We couldn't get him to dress up but I'm counting on him for next year. 


7:30 PM came and went and we'd only had about a dozen little visitors and none of the age we were waiting for.  Out in the cold we laughed and carried on.  I had to practice my witchy-laughter-scream and had to work on it (the volume alone is enough to get to you—thanks Mom).  By that time Cory was beginning to worry.  There seemed to be no one coming or even visiting other houses.  Me, I wasn't worried, I was keeping the faith that we had a whole bunch coming yet.  I was wrong.


We only managed ONE scare the entire evening.  A couple of boys around the age of eleven or so did come up with their parents.  They thought Cory was cool—even as he was sweltering beneath the mask.  Our witch did her job beautifully, and I got them when they left.  I'm not sure but I think one of them jumped. 


Like any five year old who can't get enough, I was impatient for the next group to come.  They just didn't.  By 9 PM, it was time for Erin and me to go home.  I hadn't realized it had gotten so late but Cory and Sammi had, and so had Jamie, and so had my sister.  Everyone had to work the next day and Erin had school.  They had packed everything up for me and I whined about it.  I told them I would only give in if we did our new tradition of the 'witch dance' that we'd incorporated last year—which lasts all of about a minute and a half.  That done and one last, loud witchy-scream and we departed. 


Erin couldn't believe that it hadn't been like last year.  She was so let down, but probably not as much as I was.  Last year had been right after 9/11 and the anthrax scares and we'd had plenty of trick-or-treaters.  This year, October had us all focused on THE SNIPER but by Halloween they'd already been captured.  It just wasn't to be this year.


Don't think we are giving up.  Just wait until NEXT year! 



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