PIKE’S PEEK: Columnist spends Halloween with family, ridicules small children

Daniel Pike

They came by the backfiring vanload to the neighborhood Friday night.

Armies of angels, cheerleaders, Power Rangers and fuzzy animals – but nary a true ghoul or goblin – bounded into the street, eyes glazed like donuts, desperately seeking gingivitis.

From my parents’ front yard, a considerable distance from the entrance to the neighborhood, we could see them. Silhouettes flitted through streetlights, reflective tape shone in headlights. And we could hear them, squealing and shrieking through crisp autumn air and crunching across leafy lawns.

The road to our stronghold curves wickedly. The invading vehicles snaked ominously back toward town, inching closer as the shrieking and crunching grew louder. It was 5 p.m. Only moments before, the sun had slipped below the horizon. A half moon hovered above, and we were left to face the intruders in darkness.

Halloween night in my old neighborhood is the sort of scene you see in movies – great throngs of trick-or-treaters parading through a subdivision, dragging around oversized and overstuffed bags of candy – but much less appealing.

This was my 10th Halloween at the house. Even after moving out several years ago, I always come back for the event. For sick, insensitive and morally bankrupt goons like myself, it is the highest of high comedy.

There’s no polite way to say this, so I’ll not mince words. With a few exceptions, the candy-grubbing mass is populated by the least respectful, least appreciative and least intelligent folks in the county.

They come from miles to our little corner of town and thrust their sacks in our faces, often grumbling that the giver’s handful of candy seems a bit small.

And that’s just the adults.

One year, a grown woman offered a bag to my Dad, who was on candy duty at the time, and explained that she was trick-or-treating for her 18-month-old, who was in the hospital with a heart attack.

Nothing quite so hilarious occurred this year, but for fun -?and so I wouldn’t have to think up another column idea – I decided to keep statistics of the visitors to our porch.

Our house was manned primarily by three people – me, my brother and my girlfriend – and my parents made occasional appearances. Trick-or-treating officially began at 5 p.m., and we were fully stocked with seven pounds of candy.

For the next 109 minutes, until we ran out of candy, we welcomed 256 trick-or-treaters to our doorstep. That’s a service rate of 2.35 customers a minute, roughly 40 times faster than the Steak n’ Shake drive-through.

The breakdown

Section 1. Demographics

Total trick-or-treaters -?256

Total adult trick-or-treaters – 8

Former high school classmates who brought their children trick-or-treating -?4

Trick-or-treaters who were using their 1-year-old child as a prop -?13

Pregnant trick-or-treaters – 1

Not-quite-adult trick-or-treaters, but just a bit too old – 2

Section 2. Pleasantries

Percent who said “trick or treat” -?38

Of those, percent who said “trick or treat” without parents forcing them to – 17

Percent who said “thank you” -?24

Of those, percent who said “thank you” without parents forcing them to -?40

Cuss words uttered by trick-or-treaters – 1

Number who said “let’s see what else you’ve got” instead of “trick or treat” – 1

Number who said “you’re welcome” after receiving candy – 1

Section 3. The outfits

Adults in full costume – 3

Kids whose only costume was smeared makeup -?4

Unidentifiable costumes – 21

No costume -?7

Harlequins – 1

“Scream” masks – 6

3-year-olds with bare midriffs – 1

Section 4. The sacks

Grocery bags – 22

Pillowcases – 6

Garbage bags – 1

Hamburger bun bags – 1

Section 5. Dad

(Dad made a 30-minute appearance on the porch midway through the evening.)

Ridiculous comments while making conversation with young trick-or-treaters – 16

Dismemberment jokes told – 1

Section 6. Miscellaneous

Packages of Smarties eaten by me – 11

Sepultura T-shirts – 1

What’s it all mean? No idea. But there are worse ways to spend a fall Friday than hanging out on the porch with friends and family, eating sweets and trying to keep sugar-crazed loonies out of the shrubs. Next Halloween won’t get here fast enough.

Daniel Pike is the features editor for the Herald. His column appears on Thursday. You can reach him at [email protected]