When we were kids, we’d get all dressed up as vampires or clowns or hobos or ghosts, grab one of the spare pillowcases from the linen closet and head out to start ringing doorbells once dinner was finished. It’d be chilly. It might even be raining. But the thought of all that Halloween candy kept us warm and hopping from door to door and street to street.
Our stomping and Halloween grazing grounds were a four-block stretch bordered by Mapleton Street and Harper Avenue. My street was Forest, Shawn and Richard’s was Dale, Kenny and Raymond were on Boxwood and Peter was on Beech. Forget parental chaperones (things were considered safer back then — as long as you looked both ways before crossing the street). We just walked where we wanted. My buddies didn’t go in for tricks as much as treats in those days, so the whole night was about fun, and nary a temptingly placed jack-o’-lantern was harmed in the making of our little production. We were a mostly polite and appreciative bunch — people were throwing candy at us, after all. And man, we cleaned up.
Later that night we’d convene to compare the sweet hauls, maybe trade a few items and eat ourselves to a molar-busting sugar high no tranquilizer could tame. Mom would later take a cut of the candy from me and my sisters (for our own good) and stuff it into the freezer (she loved her some frozen Milky Ways), but we’d eventually pinch most of that stash, too. The rest we’d keep in the pillowcase, learning math by figuring out how many candy bars we could eat per day and still have a sugary Thanksgiving dessert.
These days, Mary and Shop Boy hope to give out more candy than we could ever eat but, because the inner city isn’t considered quite as conducive to trick-or-treating, the clumps of cute goblins are fewer and farther between. It’s a shame. We’re a great, friendly block. Now, Shop Boy doesn’t want to make light of parental concerns. But I just know that if the kids were aware of exactly how much candy we usually have, they’d talk their chaperones into making a right turn onto our street.
As it is, we have tons of leftovers. Did I mention that Mary comes from Southern stock? “Never run out of food” — or candy — is imprinted on her soul. We’ll likely just hand out a few sweets, wander up to see if any Maryland Institute art students are practicing up for Saturday night’s skimpiest-costume contest and then pack up the candy to take to the printshop for, you know, any emergencies that come up between now and, say, Thanksgiving.
Mary has this cool dragon mask that I might pull out for her. She looks really great in it. Me? Don’t need a costume. See, in the old days, printshop apprentices were called devils. (I learned that from a National Geographic Traveler article on the world’s most haunted places.) And Mary has referred to Shop Boy for some time now as Mr. Devil, based on my uncanny ability to materialize out of thin air with a tempting refill at the most inappropriate time. (Hence the gwbgt, or Guy Who Brings Gin and Tonics, in this blog’s Web address.) Satan’s presence is said to bring a sulphurous stench. Mine brings the tinkle-tinkle of ice cubes. He’s feared. I’m always welcomed in.
And Mary swears that, if you look close enough, you can just see the tips of my horns. But it’s rude to stare. And you don’t want to be bad children. Do you?
Oh, what the hell … how about a bonus hour of music to rattle your bones, carve pumpkins or simply count candy bars by? Ah, Halloween. Most of these tunes should be available in the usual places. Cool and creepy videos are from YouTube.
Candy-O — the Cars (Help me in.)
I Want Out — Helloween (Or not.)
Heaven and Hell — Black Sabbath (With Ronnie James Dio. Sweet!)
Halloween — Stephen Lynch (Sick, sick, sick.)
Ghostbusters — Ray Parker Jr. (Later on, we weren’t such nice, polite kids. Not that Raymond ever really was. Mary wants Shop Boy to write a children’s book called Bad Raymond. His mother used to ask me why in the world I hung around with her son, if that gives you any idea.)
Mother – Danzig (“Tell your children not to walk my way.”)
I Put a Spell on You — Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (My, oh my.)
Satan Is My Motor — Cake (That’s not me … it’s bad gasoline.)
Season of the Witch — Donovan (Cool cover by Courtney and Hole.)
Thriller — Michael Jackson (He was also pretty cool once.)
Monster Mash — the Misfits (And the original. And, um, this.)
Dragula — Rob Zombie (Look both ways before crossing.)
Theme From The Munsters — Los Straitjackets (Always in costume.)
Evil Woman — Electric Light Orchestra (A fool and his candy soon go separate ways.)
Bad Things — Jace Everett (“Mr. Everett? It’s Chris Isaak on Line 2. Something about wanting his sound back …” Judging by the audio problems with the first video, I’m guessing court proceedings have begun.)
Tonight, Tonight – Smashing Pumpkins (Costume party? That’s a fact, Jack-’O.)
Devil Nights — Electric Six (So campy.)
Animals — Nickelback (Surrendering to the impulses of the devil on your shoulder.)