I was completely naive about Halloween. In my mind I’d imagined a pleasant evening of handing out candy, asking pint-sized people about their clever pirate/gypsy/clown/fairy costume, and sharing a chuckle with the smiling parents hanging back on the sidewalk. I’d imagined that at some point I’d run out of candy and have to snuff my light to signal the end of my generosity. And that the end of all this would make me sad.
I wasn’t prepared for the gangs of teenagers who stormed my porch. I wasn’t prepared for the kids who grabbed more than one candy and ran before I could say anything. I wasn’t prepared for the violent costumes (I saw a lot of knives–Ninjas and soldiers?), and I’d never considered how the sound of my doorbell ringing every 5 minutes would grate on my nerves and interrupt every small thing I was trying to do (laundry? chop vegetables? check emails? RING RING RING).
I started the night out by plugging in the cute decorative lights, turning on the porch light, stocking a big bowl with choice chocolates, and feeling proud about being the lady with good candy. By the end of the night, I’d turned into the cranky lady who scolds kids, crosses her arms, and gets her house egged. But isn’t the universal sign of “I have candy!” the porch light? When the porch light goes off, that means no more trick or treatin’. Or at least it did in my day.
After two hours, I was exhausted and turned off all my lights except one. I huddled under a single bulb and tried to read the latest New Yorker on my couch. The doorbell continued to ring. Finally, I gave in and went upstairs. What does it mean that I no longer identify with princesses and fairies, but with cranky old ladies?