Night of the Living Candy Bandits

(What does candy corn do the rest of the year?)


Once again, Halloween is looming over America. I think this may be our weirdest holiday, if you don’t count Columbus Day, a day when for some unexplained reason we all celebrate the capital of Ohio.

On Halloween, parents let their young, impressionable children dress up like very short versions of various superheroes, Disney characters, enchanted animals, witches, and other unreal things, like Donald Trump’s hair. Then, shortly after sunset, the costumed kids race around the neighborhood, Gatling-gunning doorbells and demanding free food, or else the little masked terrors will lash out with some still undefined “trick.”

This is a behavior known to parents as cute, and to the rest of us as extortion.

So all of us homeowners in the neighborhood are expected to run out and buy great huge bags of individually wrapped candies, seasonally marked up to hotel room mini-bar prices, and then spend the evening handing out the sugar-laced booty to tiny truants who ring your doorbell and then yell at you.

Several hours later, all the midgets retreat, head home, and miniature Mars Bars themselves into pre-diabetic sugar comas. I don’t know who invented Halloween, but I bet it was a bunch of dentists.

In my neighborhood, Halloween is even stranger because apparently nobody explained to the kids around here that there’s an unwritten, but generally accepted cut-off age. So I spend the Halloween evening watching “kids” who drive their own cars up to the curb, leave the cars idling, tromp to my door in their street clothes, and lay their lit cigarettes on the porch before ringing the doorbell.

I open the door and have to look up. These precious toddlers are taller than me, and one of these tykes just had a beer. Now, I’m not tall, but I’m taller than most eight-year-olds, unless they grew up near a nuclear reactor. I hand over the sweets, tactically avoiding the usual Halloween banter:

Homeowner: “Oh, what a cute little pirate! Look at the lovely princess! And what are you supposed to be?”
Chin-stubbled juvenile with a neck tattoo: “I’m supposed to wearing my proximity ankle bracelet. You got candy, or what?”

Then, as I’m standing there in the doorway, one adorable thug with metal inserted in his face starts casing the joint. He looks past me and mumbles, “Yo, nice TV, homes.”

Note to self: call ADT, schedule home security review


You may be too old for Trick or Treat if…

  • …you paid for your costume with your own credit card
  • …when the homeowner answers the door, you wonder if she’s single
  • …you can’t eat all your candy because it conflicts with your medication
  • …last Halloween, you got a DUI
  • …just as you ring the doorbell, you get a text message from your second ex-wife
  • …you refuse to watch “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” because there’s a game on
  • …someone compliments your pregnant unwed biker chick costume — but you’re not wearing a costume
  • …you start ringing doorbells at noon, because this time the magistrate’s put you on a dusk-to-dawn curfew
  • …as you’re leaving one home on your Halloween route, you bump into your own kids


But just when you thought Halloween couldn’t get more bizarre – now I’m getting spam promoting Halloween costumes…for pets.

Apparently, it’s not bad enough that animals have to wear collars, get stuck with names like “Earline” or “Pookie” and – as if that’s not humiliating enough – be told when and where to pee. Now they’re forced into costumes that would insult the mangiest mutt. (I noticed there were no cat costumes. If you‘ve ever met a cat, you understand.)

To give you some idea, you can costume your dog in a Pirate Dress. Now that’s a stupid costume idea, even for a human. But here – I’ll let the pirate dress sellers speak for themselves:

“Ye little sea dog be a beaut … features red satin ribbon lace-up … two attached miniskirts … skull-and-crossbones screen print … sleeveless design … front hook-and-loop closure … lets your first mate plunder the booty in comfort and style!”

Pardon me? Plunder the booty? Red satin lace-up? Two miniskirts? Sleeveless, with front closure? Is this for my collie, or my Congressman?

The available costume options go from silly, to embarrassing, to downright cruel, including one strap-on “college pigskin” costume so you can make a miniature Schnauzer look just like a football.

If the “kids” casing my house on Halloween ever run into that little four-legged football, the animal is doomed.

“Yo, homes! Go long!”

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