Tuesday, November 02, 2004

I've got my tin foil hat on already, and I'll even admit that I'm in my cubicle biting my nails and counting down until polling places start to close. My power went out in the middle of the night because of a blown transformer, and when I left for work this morning my doormat was mysteriously moved in the direction of the empty apartment next door. I'm admittedly melodramatic, and so I'm seeing signs and omens everywhere, and it's just too early in the day for that.
So instead, what I've got for you is a belated trick or treating story.

Trick or treating my neighborhood was always an interesting prospect. I grew up in a trailer park in Florida, and the thing about trailer parks in Florida is that most of them are made for the snowbirds, the Canadian elderly that only lives in the state for the winter. Most of them don't let families with kids in, and so the ones that will are usually pretty gross. Mine was full of pyromaniacal kids, strung out single folk, geriatrics, and poor families trying hard to go up a tax bracket.
You never knew what you'd get trick or treating. Candy was mostly gum and tootsie rolls and fireballs, but occasionally you'd come across pennies, bruised fruit, cigarettes, and other miscellany. I never minded the oddities, though. As far as I was concerned, it was all normal. What I minded most about Halloween was being scared. I'm a big baby, and I always have been. I don't like scary movies, and I can't read scary books before bed.
The last year I went trick or treating in that neighborhood was when I was six or seven. I walked up to a door down the street with the outside light on; the outside light was the signal that the residents had something to give out. I knocked on the door and waited, and then knocked again. Just as I was prepared to go somewhere else, the door opened slowly. It swung most of the way in and I peered hard into the darkness, trying to see someone with candy.
And just then, of course, someone jumped out from next to the door wearing a scary mask and yelling. I jumped and screamed and tried to get away, but the way that I went to was the wrong one. Instead of escaping, I fell into the space between the steps to the door and the side of the house, and I stuck there. And I cried. My mom and the man behind the mask (which, to his credit, he had removed as soon as I fell) laughed and laughed at me and made Baby Jessica jokes, and I vowed then and there to only ever trick or treat again in well-lit malls.

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