It was our first Halloween in our new house.
Actually, only partly true. It was the first Halloween for my wife and son. Our new house is the house I grew up in, so I've had probably two decades worth of Halloweens in the house. (We bought my parent's house and moved into it in September)
But for the sake of simplicity, let's call it our first Halloween in our new house.
We were told, by my parents, to expect about 25 trickertreaters, and sure enough, we had maybe 30 before the 8pm curfew. (there is an 8pm curfew, right?)
And two more after the curfew. Well-after the curfew.
About 11:50pm, as I'm just about ready to go to bed (everyone else except the cats had already retired to their bedrooms), our front doorbell rings. Now, if you're like me, you don't like doorbells to ring around midnight, and you don't like middle-of-the-night phone calls. So, I nervously approach the front door. I see two figures standing on the doorstep, both dressed in black cloaks, and both wearing white full-face masks. One was tall and thin, the other shorter and squat.
"Trick or Treat", says the taller one. He speaks with a slow, deep voice. Kind of slurred, but it didn't sound drunk-slurred. Just creepy-slurred. Anyway, I didn't recognize it.
"Sorry", I say. "Too late."
"C'mon, trick or treat", he says. There is no humour or levity to his voice. To me, it sounds ominous.
"No way, boys." I instantly regretted the "boys", because it sounded fake and desperate. I wanted to maintain a detached coolness to the whole affair, and didn't think this "boys" was helping me achievie my goal.
"Trick or treat. We want some candy"
"You gotta leave now. You're not getting anything." Strong and emphatic. Not a hint of the scaredy-cat heart-thumping I was experiencing inside.
At this point, a few things enter my brain. One is that these two guys are decoys, and the real threat (yes, I was feeling threatened) had already entered through the back door. Did I lock the back door? I look behind me, half-expecting to be hit by a blunt object. But, of course, nobody was there. Two, is the idea that both of them were about to pull bats out from under their cloaks and break the windows and enter and do who-knows-what. The movie "Funny Games" suddenly appeared in my thoughts and my brain kind of peed itself. Three, is the question "Are they friends of my son?" and simultaneously realizing I don't know them. None of these thoughts did anything to negate my growing nervousness, nor quash my ever-rapidly-increasing heart beat.
"We want candy." Only the tall, thin one was speaking. This only added to my anxiety.
"You're not getting anything. You have to leave now."
And this next sentence was the sentence that took this whole experience to a new level of freaky for me.
"We don't want to murder you. We just want candy."
You'd have to hear it to understand just how creepy and awful and passively threatening it was. My first thought was "We don't want to murder you" doesn't necessarily mean "we won't be murdering you". It just means they don't "want" to murder you, but they will, if they don't get candy.
"Okay, I'm calling the police."
A few more moments of more of the same lack of ground-gaining from either party. They insisting on getting candy, and me insisting on this being enough now.
Then they leave, and walk down the driveway. I watch them amble off across the street and into the yard of a neighbour. I go and get my cell-phone, ready to dial if I see anything untoward. I may have actually thought the word "untoward" in my brain at that moment. I wondered if this event would warrant a 911 call or should I call another number? What would that other number be?
They come back to the street and walk up to another neighbour's house, walk up to their veranda - I ready to call 911, even if it didn't warrant ti - and then the tall one picked up something off the veranda and walked back to the street. They start back toward my house.
I am so ready to call 911. i see he has a pumpkin. A good sized pumpkin. "Okay, it's going through one of our windows" I think. I brace myself for this.
But then, at the end of the driveway, he lifts the pumpkin over his head and throws it onto our pavement. It breaks into pieces. They wander off, up the street.
I watch them until I can't see them anymore. Then I watch them for another couple of minutes.
Then I go and check the back door. It was locked.
Then I go to bed and try to get my heart to stop beating, and feel kind of embarrassed for having my heart beating so much at what turned out to be a non-event.