Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Very First Time I Ever Went Trick-or-Treating Door-to-Door

We didn't celebrate Halloween when I was growing up.

In an effort to protect us from eternal damnation and demons entering our minds, my mother forbid my brothers and me from celebrating Halloween (or any other holiday "of pagan origin") when I was growing up. This included Valentine's Day, Christmas and Easter.

You may be thinking, "What do you mean 'pagan?'  Christmas and Easter are about the birth and resurrection of Jesus Christ! How can that be pagan?!" But no. According to my mom, the association with Jesus these holidays have is just a front the Devil uses to trick people into celebrating "his" holidays and worshiping him.

No costumes, no trick-or-treating, no holiday parties... you name it. Anything that had any association with "Halloween evil" was not allowed.  This meant I couldn't even eat the candy and other treats passed out to all the students during classroom parties. She had us so sufficiently terrified of God's wrath (and hers, if she ever found out about it) that we refused to sneak even a piece of candy corn.

The teachers were at a loss since they'd never really encountered anything like this before, so they would just make my brothers and me sit to the side of the room during the class Halloween party and watch all the other kids have all the fun.

Yes, it was as awful an experience as you're imagining it was. 

All that's just to explain why I had my first experience going trick-or-treating door-to-door at the ripe old age of 27.  Tootise was three years old and the twins, Teensy and Turbo, were two at the time. I was so excited. After all those years of being denied the simple Halloween joy of demanding strangers give you handfuls of cavity bombs, I would finally get the chance to live it vicariously through my children.

We were ready. Tootsie was absolutely darling in her white bunny costume, Turbo was dressed as Robin, and Teensy was a cute little pumpkin. With the twins locked and loaded in their double stroller, which I pushed with one hand, and Tootsie at my side with strict instructions not to let go of my other hand, we set off.

I had recently moved in with my grandma temporarily and I wasn't very familiar with the neighborhood, but I could find my way around well enough and I felt pretty sure I knew the rules: don't go down unlit streets, knock on the doors of the houses who have lights on, prompt the kids to say "Trick or treat!" I even had Tootsie memorize a couple jokes in case any older folks wanted her to tell them one.

Ready to trick-or-treat!

We knocked on the first door. No answer. (Odd... their porch lights were on. Hmm...)

Second door, same thing. (What the hell...)

Tootsie was starting to get a little confused. "Where is the candy, Mama?" Okay, well maybe the people at those houses don't celebrate Halloween or left the lights on by accident.

I made sure the next door we knocked on was fully decked out in Halloween decorations. These people definitely celebrated Halloween! The porch lights were on and we could see television lights flickering through the living room blinds. They were definitely home, too! Yes, now here we go. Finally, some candy!

I knocked on the door. After a little while, a man opened the door. "Trick or tweeeeeeeeat!" my kids called out in unison with their cute little babyish voices.

"Huh?" he replied. 

"Trick or tweeeeeeeeat!!!!!!!!!!" my kids shouted again.

"What are you talking about?"

Shit. Don't tell me it's the 30th or something and not the 31st! But no, I was sure it was October 31. "Umm," I said. "You know, trick-or-treat? Halloween? Candy??"

"We ain't got no candy." was all he said. Then he shut the door.

What. The fuck. How the hell are you home on Halloween night with your lights on and a friggin' shit-ton of Halloween decorations up and you look at me like I'm the crazy one?! 

Oh boy, were the kids starting to get disappointed! After hitting up a couple dozen houses, we ended up with only about four houses (mostly older folks) that were actually passing out candy. My kids were devastated. Is this it? Tootsie's face read. All this hype about Halloween and for just this??

I ended up hauling ass another half mile across the neighborhood, pushing the double stroller with one hand, uphill, carrying Tootsie on my hip with the other cause her little baby-legs were getting tired, to our babysitter's house since I knew for a fact she was planning on passing out candy that night.

And she did not disappoint. Our trek was rewarded with several handfuls of name-brand candy bar minis for each kid. Not a very big trick-or-treating haul, but plenty for my kids to feel like all the effort had been worth it.

And all was well that ended well. Tootsie was happy. Teensy was gleeful. And Turbo delighted in practically slipping into a candy-induced diabetic coma with all the sugar-filled crap he crammed into his gob.

Ah, good times.

I later found out that most people with children don't typically go trick-or-treating door-to-door in our area. The preferred event seems to be trick-or-treating at the mall or other stores, or going to a church "trunk-or-treat" event. More on that in my next post...

So what about you? Do you trunk-or-treat or hit up the mall, or is it good old-fashioned door-to-door trick-or-treating all the way? Got any good trick-or-treating stories to share?

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