Tuesday, October 28, 2008

All Hallows Eve - in the middle of the day

Manchester is a weird town. It’s a place where I’ve watched a man shout “ah, shut up!” at a passing ambulance’s (apparently annoying) siren. It’s a place where the local motel has a sign reading “Stay for a night… Or a lifetime.” It’s a place where, if I walk or ride my bicycle to work, people are astounded.

I only live about two miles from my office.

The political aspects are fun, as we are an epicenter of sorts for the NH primaries, as well as the presidential race in general. It’s certainly true that you are provided with multiple opportunities to meet any candidate on any ticket. The day after the elections, however, it is as the circus left town, pulling up the stakes and hurrying out on a midnight train. Even they don’t want to linger. Then we are just left with the town itself.

I’ve been here for nearly five years, and I can’t wait to leave.

One of my ongoing peeves is the insistence on “celebrating” Halloween on the Sunday before, in the middle of the day. Thus, last Sunday, (October 26), from 1-4pm was the “official” time for trick or treaters.

We also celebrate the fourth of July on July 3rd.

This year’s non-Halloween Sunday was a beautiful, sunny day. It was broad daylight. It was not Halloween. As a result, there wasn’t much Halloween spirit in the house minus our two black cats. Who, incidentally, were sleeping in the sun as it was the middle of the day.

The amount of kids that show up varies year to year. In our early years here we stocked up on candy (which we put in a special cauldron, even) only to have three kids show up at the door the entire time.

Two years ago, the neighbors’ grandson (who I’m guessing was around 12 at the time) came to the door dressed in a basketball jersey, big jeans, and sunglasses. I asked what his costume was and he said he was a rapper, pointing to a stretch limo parked on the street. Apparently his grandfather had rented it/borrowed it from one of his potentially crooked friends (a blog story for another blog day) as the cornerstone of his costume.

He was trick or treating for candy, but wasn’t going to walk? No effort and all the reward? I was not impressed. I thought I’d make him work for it, which was admittedly not the nicest thing I could have done. I asked him to show me his skills. Give me one small rap. Show me something in character. Even I can bust out the lyrics to “Jump Around” or numerous other 90’s gems upon command.

He looked at me quizzically and pointed at the limo again. No rap emerged.

I still gave him a full size candy bar, as that’s the kind of girl I am.

Slowly but surely we’ve cut back on the candy purchasing, until this year, when we finally didn’t bother at all. All we had to work with was some leftover items from a night of making s’mores.

(As a side note, that meant we had both plain chocolate bars and peanut butter cups. Try branching out with the s’more making components– delicious!)

And, well, you know where this is going… We had a small crush of kids this time around, all looking very cute in their various witch, ghost, zebra, action hero, etc. costumes. I tried to avoid them, but I made the mistake of stepping onto the stairs (I’d been hiding upstairs), thus exposing a living human being to the eyes peering intently through our front window.

I opened the door to at least 10 kids eagerly hoisting bags at me, and I didn’t have enough for all of them. I made some sort of silly joke about how they were going to crush my entire supply, and then tried to pick those kids that looked like they were holding lesser-full sacks. I ran out completely, and some kids simply had to go without.

Not without candy, mind you. They seemed to have plenty of candy. Just without candy from me. Still, I felt pretty bad that I had to look in their little eyes, shrug my shoulders, and simply wish them a Happy Halloween. Even thought it wasn’t Halloween, and they weren’t looking for my good wishes. They just wanted the sugar.

It was a small costumed nightmare, and I am so happy that this is my last year of this silly non-Halloween Halloween.

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