We get no trick-or-treaters at our house. Zero. So we went over to the home of some friends, who live on Capitol Hill.
When they invited us, they made it sound like it would be a delightful, relaxing evening. Some food. A little wine. The occasional interruption by visiting children. Little did we know that we were being conscripted to work in their candy-handing-out sweatshop.
The quantity of trick-or-treaters they expected to receive was described to us as “a lot.” I took this to mean, like, 100. Instead, it was more like “a throng” or “a battalion” … possibly even “a multitude.” I don’t know what time they opened their front door (the insanity was already well on its way by the time we arrived at 6:00), but it did not close again until well after 9:00. The stream of kidmanity was ceaseless.
Handing out candy was a three-person operation: two stood on either side of the door, frantically shoving Fun-Sized Snickers bars and Laffy Taffy into the gaping maws of waiting bags; the third served as a kind of bucket brigade, feverishly scooping tooth-rot from the supply barrel and feeding it to the hander-outers, to ensure that their ammunition never ran low. Any hesitation and we would get overwhelmed. At one point a surge of kids drove us back into the house; the doorframe filled with a mass of costume-clad bodies, threatening to explode into the foyer if the pressure behind them continued to swell. We began just hurling handfuls of candy at the crowd, the high-caloric equivalent of firing a shotgun indiscriminately into an approaching zombie horde.
Our friends had purchased 100 pounds of candy; by the end of the evening, every last Tootsie Roll had been distributed.
Some observations from the front lines:
- The most common non-generic costume (“generic” being define as a mainstay: pirate, ninja, superhero, witch, sexy ______, etc.) was Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. A surprising number Dorothys. But perhaps not as surprising as the four different kids dressed as bananas. Am I so out-of-touch that I’ve missed the resurgence of the banana as a pop culture icon?
- Also in the “more popular than you’d expect” column: penguins, Boba Fett, Santa Claus.
- Favorite costume (tie): the two teens dressed as Jemaine and Bret. Bret had disheveled hair and a guitar strapped to his back; Jemaine had muttonchops and was crooning about how he was going to buy us a kebab. When The Queen and I complemented them on their costumes, they looked astonished. “Do you know who we are?” one asked. Sure, the Flight of the Conchords guys, we replied. “You’re the first people all night!” they cried. “We have a fan!”
- Second favorite costume: kid dressed up like a box of Chinese take-out.
- A homemade costume is, by default, 30 x more awesome than any store-bought costume. Fact! I would refer doubters to this photo.
- On the porch, standing next to the door, was a plastic skeleton with a long, curly dark wig and gummy eyeballs in its sockets. Early in the night, one young boy looked at it and exclaimed, “It’s Michael Jackson!” He wasn’t joking; he honestly mistook it for Captain EO. We though that was pretty hilarious / odd. Then, an hour later, another kid had the exact same reaction. And 20 minutes later, another. All were totally sincere; we were completely baffled.
At the end of the night a few of us stood around it, trying to figure out the resemblance. “Well, it doesn’t have a nose,” my friend observed. “And it’s about the same shade of white.”
- The only thing more shameful than waking up after a night of heavy drinking to find a stranger in your bed is waking up the night after Halloween to find your jacket pocket literally bulging with empty candy wrappers.