Column: Don't be mean! It's Halloween

Friday, October 30, 2009

On a neighborhood street somewhere north of here on a Halloween night nearly 50 years ago, two boys decided to knock at every door in a dragnet and rather efficient approach to the gathering of candy that would be desert in their school lunch bags for weeks to come.

They knocked on all the doors, regardless of whether the lights were off, and therein was the trap laid by a couple of brothers who were waiting for their age-appropriate victims.

Phillip knocked on the door. Clinton rang the doorbell. Without an answer, they turned toward the next house and were walking on the front walk parallel to the house when a man came from the attached carport and blew a bugle with a blare that made them turn back toward the front door, just as several lights came on, inside and out.

"Hey, do you want some candy?"

The question came from the front door and the reply was "That's why we're here."

"Step right up, boys. It's Halloween, the night for trick or treat."

The man with the bugle disappeared into the carport, and presumably back into the house.

Questions were asked about how much had been collected, what was preferred and what would be done with the candy.

Then it was game time. The donation would be doubled if talent and dexterity were displayed with a simple test conducted with a dime on the nose and a funnel in the waistband.

The big guy demonstrated. Lean back. Move forward. Look down by lowering your nose and drop the dime into the funnel. A clink was heard and a dime was retrieved from the funnel.

Phillip got two test runs. The second time, he was told he was getting better, closer, and that surely the third time would be the charm.

To encourage him to give it the shot needed for the prize, the man offered Phillip a much bigger funnel.

So, on the third try, after inserting the longer funnel in place, Phillip leaned way back, placed the dime on his nose and started to stand up straight so he could lower his head and drop that dime into the funnel.

Before he got that far, the man poured a pint of ice water down the funnel.

"Wooo! Wow! Dang that's cold!" Phillip was stepping fast and high in place at the front stoop.

The man then dumped many candy bars, lollipops, bubble gum, and chewy goodies into our trick or treat bags. He then handed Phillip an old (but clean) towel that was apparently stolen from a hotel.

Phillip was stuffing the towel down his pants when the man retreated into his house and slammed the front door as someone else was yelling "Happy Halloween" through a window above the walk to the front door.

One light was left on as the boys walked away. It was time to stop the candy campaign. Phillip wanted to go home. So they did, stepping quickly across the width of a dozen or so front yards.

Happy Halloween, and be careful tomorrow night.