It was Halloween during my junior year in college. For the first time in my life I was not living at home or in a dorm. I had rented a bedroom in a house that a graduate student lived in and owned. He was looking to make some extra money while in graduate school, so I became his tenant. The house was off campus a few miles and located in a middle class neighborhood with a lot of families living there. It occurred to me that we just might have quite a few trick-or-treaters to come by for Halloween. I had grown up in the country.
After my trick-or-treat days as a kid were over, my Halloweens were rather boring because there were very few treat-or-treaters to come around in our rural area. But my new home was in a totally different setting. It was going to be different. And I was looking forward to it. My landlord/roommate and I were both going to be home studying. Being in graduate school he was doing some intense studying, so he told me that I was welcome to play host all evening and hand out the candy. He had bought a lot of candy because he knew from prior experience that we would have a lot of trick-or-treaters. This heightened my expectations and I found myself excited to see what the evening held.
For Halloween night, the weather could not have been better. There was a nice breeze blowing which rustled through the leaves that were still on the trees. At times the wind created a howling sound. Coupled with a slight chill in the air, this created the perfect mood for a spooky night. Oooooooooooooohhh. And as I looked out the window for the first sign of ghosts and goblins moving around, the doorbell rang. At this point I would be lying if I said there wasn’t a bit of a tingling in my spine as I approached the door with bags of candy in hand. What vampire, or werewolf, or witch, or headless monster was waiting for me to open the door and demand Snickers and Three Musketeers as payment for no harm upon me and my humble abode?
Well, as I opened the door I could only smile and gently laugh at the cutest trio of tiny trick-or-treaters, thrusting their bags at me and yelling in unison, “Trick or treat!” It reminded of when I first began as a kid and how exciting it was to knock on the door and then receive a treat. Of course I had to try and act partly scared. One little boy in particular seemed to get a lot of satisfaction from having scared me in to handing over the goods. Hmmmmmmmmm. Hope that didn’t follow him into adulthood. I’m sure it didn’t.
The rest of the night only got better. The doorbell rang constantly as we had figured it would. There were shrieks, screams, laughs, and yes even a few tears from some first-timers who were too caught up in the spookiness of the evening. There was a wide range of costumes, everything from the sheet off the bed – one of my faves as a kid – to the fake bloody mask that one older kid just knew would freak me out. Sorry kiddo. Been there and tried that. It never got the results I wanted either.
By the time the evening was over, most of the candy was gone and I was left wishing Halloween came more often. I’m sure I had as much fun, or more, as the kids and their parents did. My first time as a treater had been a blast. Living in the country has its advantages, but on Halloween you’ve got to go where the action is.
As I cut the porch light off for the evening, I took one more look out through the dark night. I’m sure it was just my imagination or a sugar high from having eaten the leftover candy, but something seemed to move mysteriously through the night air. The costume looked familiar. All I kept thinking was, “I hope it liked the treat I gave it.”