Well, tonight’s the big night. Yea, all the ghoulies, beasties and things that go bump in the night will be roaming the streets of Hillsville. Treats will be plentiful, and young and old monsters alike will have a happy, and most importantly safe, Halloween. But …. there’s always a but. Safe is good, but I can’t help feel that today’s zombies are missing out on the fun we had as kids roaming the very same streets.
Back in the long, long ago before time of my youth, kids could traverse the streets of this small burg without any real danger. Sure, you might get your candy stolen, or hit with an egg or water balloon, but that was part of the excitement, raking in the loot while avoiding the danger posed by the older kids. The good thing was that you would eventually become an older kid who posed the threat to not only younger kids, but to adults as well. Before leaving for a night of frivolity, you would make sure you had all the prerequisites – the aforementioned eggs and water balloons, as well as toilet paper and several small bags of manure. Now, most people usually went with manure of cow, since that was the most common in these parts. Others used dog manure or horse manure. I, personally, favored pig manure. I always felt it had the right mixture of stickiness, odor and color for the perfect Halloween surprise.
Anyway, we would sit the bag of manure in front of someone’s door, light it on fire, knock on the door or ring the doorbell, then hightail it out of there. When they opened the door and saw a flaming bag they would naturally begin to stomp on it, which resulted in a very messy shoe and, in some cases, singed clothing and leg hair. The water balloons were primarily for other creatures of the night, and eggs were good for a variety of targets – kids, houses, cars, pets. The toilet paper, of course, was useful in adding that distinct decorating touch to the landscaping of a home.
In fact, it was while a group of us were involved in said landscaping that we got more trick than we had bargained for. We were quiet, or so we thought, TPing the yard of our favorite coach. You only TP the ones you love. There were no lights on in the house, so we thought we were good to go. We had just begun to decorate when a shotgun blast went off right behind us. Needless to say, we had plenty of manure at that point. Coach had a good laugh about that one, but youth has its advantages, so as soon as he tired and went to bed, we did possibly the best job of TP landscaping in the history of Halloween. The mischief lasted until late in the night, or rather the early morning hours, and sometimes not until our town policeman said enough was enough.
Eventually, everybody outgrows the trick phase of Halloween … okay, everybody except for “Rooster Edwards” … and you become an adult, or you at least attempt to act like an adult, although that can be hard to do at Halloween. Then all those years of tormenting others comes back to haunt you. Now, I’ve never stomped on a bag of burning manure, but our vehicles have been egged and our yard has been landscaped with toilet paper, especially when the Mistress of the Manor was teaching. Students TPing teachers’ yards is just as natural as Mitt Romney outsourcing jobs.
However, there is something very interesting about adults when it comes to Halloween, and it involves the infamous costume parties. One thing I, along with most men, find very interesting about Halloween is women will wear outfits to Halloween parties that they normally wouldn’t wear in their own bedroom. Another thing is, men will wear outfits at Halloween that would normally get them drummed out of the Jaycees. Once when I was a young lad, my uncle, all 230 pounds of him, showed up at our house wearing just a sheet tied in the fashion of a diaper. Did he just show up dressed that way for our amusement? No, he was headed to a Halloween Dance at the VFW. A friend of the Mistress of the Manor once showed up at school, which was having costume day, wearing a nurse’s outfit with stains on the knees of her white hose. Was she just a nurse with dirty stockings? It seems her costume was inspired by her doctor husband’s decision to leave her for one of his nurses.
Although the Mistress of the Manor and I have donned costumes at times, we usually don’t dress up at Halloween, mainly because she says I provide enough strangeness on a day-to-day basis. Instead, we watch our beloved “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” along with some real horror movies, play scrabble and eat popcorn. Yes, I know, that does sound exciting.
Now, you may ask why I waited to write about Halloween so late. It is, after all, tonight. Well, I did so out of a civic responsibility. If I had written this a week earlier, there would have been time for some young person to peruse it and get some ideas. I hear TP landscaping is still in vogue, but for the life of me I can’t remember when I last heard about someone finding a flaming bag of manure (other than Rush Limbaugh) on their doorstep. And I think we need to keep it that way.