I’ve covered my trials and tribulations of Halloween, my mother’s often creative interpretations of how to do our costumes, and even the dog’s forays into cape-wearing. But what about Dad? Well Dad had a very important role. He was the candy guy.
Dad’s role in Halloween was handing out candy while smoking Salems on the porch. He didn’t wear a costume, but he did have a mask for just one trick-or-treater. The trick-or-treater was Alicia, a blue-eyed, timid little girl with apples in her cheeks. She was a neighbor, three grades behind us, and kind of a baby. Her costumes were usually something like Little Bo Peep or Fairy Princess. Dad planned the night around making Alicia scream. The little girl had a legendary scream, a shriek of ear-piercing proportions. I swore I could hear it while I was out trick or treating with Mom and my sister.
Alicia was always one of the first trick-or-treaters because she had to go bed early. He’d wait at the window to see her knock on the door, and when he saw her, he’d slip on the mask–this deranged serial killer mask with wild hair–and then charge down the stairs screaming, holding out a Snickers bar in his hand. She’d scream, shaking too much to even take the Snickers bar.
And then it was back to solemnity and Salems for Dad.
Each year, I couldn’t wait to get back from trick-or-treating to hear the story of how loud Alicia’s scream was, which was always described as louder than the year before. One year, Alicia’s Mom even came over in advance to ask that Mr. John not scare the little girl. He did anyway. My Mom pretended to be upset but smiled anyway when he confessed.
I try to picture Alicia’s horror. 6 feet tall, former prison guard. Serial killer mask with a twisted face, bubbling skin, mangled beard. Who needs a 6 foot animatronic from Kmart? I always liked when adults tried to scare me. I’m also sure no 6-foot tall adult ever charged towards me in a serial killer mask and flannel shirt, screaming. I might have screamed like little Alicia too.
I always liked when people sat very still on their porch in a costume, and you couldn’t tell if they were real or not. Sitting still is my scare-tactic for handing out candy. I think it’s more unnerving. And plus, I just wouldn’t be able to do the “serial killer charge” any justice. Dad was the master at that. Then again, maybe one day I’ll have personal vendetta against a specific five year old.
Then the kid gloves will be off.