A guest post by Brett Baker
I’ve always thought of trick-or-treat as sort of a challenge. The kid who utters those words is basically saying, “You’re going to give me some candy, or you’re going to risk suffering the consequences.”
And most adults give in to the pint-sized extorters without giving it a second thought. Granted, those who don’t want to participate in Halloween are free to opt-out (who likes to have fun anyway?), but as a sometime-candy-hander-outer, I can confess that there have been instances where I haven’t wanted to give candy to kids.
Teenagers. I don’t know what the cutoff age should be for trick-or-treating, but it seems like it should be before eighteen or nineteen. Yet I’ve had “kids” that old show up at my door. I give them candy, but more because I want to avoid the trick than out of any great desire to give them a treat.
Which leads me to my point. Much money and effort is put forth in fulfilling the treat portion of a child’s pleading, but what about the trick? If I get extra courageous (curmudgeonly?) this year and refuse those teens their treats, then what recourse do they have?
What follows are (mostly) harmless tricks that vindictive teenagers can carry out on me to satisfy the trick-or-treat challenge. Let me be clear, I don’t endorse any of these. Although truth-be-told, if some teenager has the gumption to follow through on one, I’ll be so impressed that I’ll give him or her double candy next year!
Bring me their candy wrappers. Teenage trick-or-treaters will end up with a plentiful amount of candy. You can be sure they’re not going to one or two houses and calling it a night. They’re racing through the neighborhood, hitting as many houses as they can, some of them more than once. And they’re also not rationing their candy. Halloween’s on a Tuesday this year. I’d bet by Friday all teenager candy is gone. Some teenager could put all of their candy wrappers in a box, maybe throw in a few rocks, and leave the box on my doorstep.
I’d find the box, feels its weight, and wonder what was inside. When I opened it and saw a collection of candy wrappers I’d be disappointed/creeped out/confused/angry. A well-prepared teenager would find a spot in the distance from which he could watch my reaction and revel at my discomfort.
Lots and lots of leaves. Raking leaves is one of those activities that’s romanticized in the heat of the summer, but the fact of the matter is that raking sucks. It’s fun to jump in leaves. It’s fun to burn leaves. But few activities have wasted more good Saturdays than raking leaves.
Raking my own leaves is bad enough, but imagine the fury I’d feel if I woke one Saturday morning and discovered that some group of wise guys had taken the time to gather all the leaves from my block and deposit them around my yard. Good lord, I can feel my anger building at just the thought, which makes it the perfect trick.
Leave a dozen eggs and a slingshot on my front step. Can you imagine? I wouldn’t sleep for a week in anxious anticipation of when the egg attack would commence. Again, this provides ample opportunity for a well-prepared teenager to gain some satisfaction from seeing various lights turn on and off throughout the house at all hours of the night as I rise from fitful sleep to scope things out.
Draw a chalk outline of a body on the sidewalk in front of my house. To really up the ante, draw it without the head. Yikes!
Tootsie Rolls. This could go any number of ways, many of them quite disturbing. And, honestly, I hate to even mention this because Tootsie Rolls are so good I hate to see them wasted for some prank instead of being eaten.
But their color just lends itself to grossness. Unwrap a couple dozen and leave them around the yard and I’ll think my kids aren’t cleaning up after the dogs. Take a few of them and press them together into one huge Tootsie Roll and leave it on my doorstep or on the sidewalk and I’ll think some deranged lunatic had to use the bathroom.
If you experience any of these after Halloween, then I apologize in advance. I shouldn’t have planted the germ of the idea for some impressionable teen. But you still have time. Take this post as a warning: choose treat.
Always choose treat.
Brett Baker writes the ChicagoNow blog called Dry it in the Water. He’s also published three novels, with more in the works. His website is brettbakerwrites.com. He lives in northwest Indiana with his four children.
For the month of October, Listing Beyond Forty is Listing Toward Halloween, featuring posts related to or inspired by Halloween.