THE SONIC BOOMER
Next Thursday is Halloween, and to that I say, “Thank goodness for families with young children!” If not for the insistent whine of hundreds of thousands of candy-craving tots, Halloween could easily be scrapped by pompous adults stridently labeling it “a pagan ritual” or “devil worship.” After all, fear makes the world go ’round. Instead, thanks to the children, Halloween has morphed from its questionable beginnings into a perfectly reasonable excuse to dress up as Batman or pay homage to the characters from Frozen.
Oh, how I love to see those little kids! First of all, the angst and anxiety they have suffered in choosing the perfect costume! Whether it fits correctly or is going to keep them warm enough or will easily be seen by those driving cars are all beside the point, as far as they are concerned. They want only to be transformed — to truly be their favorite hero or scariest monster for just one night. Hair, makeup, outfit — it all has to be spot on. They’ll suffer through any pinching, grating mask or sticky, tacky makeup if it brings their look to perfection.
Second of all, the quest and reward are almost beyond belief! Candy? As much as I want? As much as I’m willing to work for? And my parents are OK with this? Wow. Kids who can barely carry a garbage bag to the trash can are suddenly able to walk for blocks, in the dark, carrying a load that is ever-increasing in weight and importance.
Third of all (and I don’t know if kids still do this, but we always did), there’s the all-important Trade Fair. With its roots firmly embedded in economics (and mercifully unannounced as such), the trading of one’s candy is almost as much fun as the acquiring of it.
Exhausted and disheveled, costumes now discarded and makeup smeared, kids hunker down on the living room floor, dump out their treats and begin trading. Parents hover nearby, presumably looking for questionable-looking treats, but more possibly hoping to score a miniature Hershey bar or two for themselves.
So here I must pause with an important reminder for those of you currently looking to buy homes:
I have owned a number of houses in my time, and my current house is far and away the best one for attracting trick-or-treaters. My first apartment complex was simply not inviting; the Victorian had too many porch steps for little ghosts trailing bedsheets to safely navigate; and the Loxahatchee “ranchette” was too far from its neighbors to make it worth any kid’s time. If you want trick-or-treaters on your porch, you must look for an accessible house in a reasonably populated neighborhood with just enough children in the area to make everything feasible.
However, if you want a calm, orderly, rational life devoid of witches, princesses, spooks and candy wrappers, there are lots of other choices out there. We just won’t be neighbors.