I hope you had a wonderful Halloween. We certainly did. Our neighborhood held its first Trick or Treat Promenade and the response was overwhelming. Kids I’d never seen before came out of the woodwork of our community, all in the name of free candy. Jake and I had major warm fuzzies strolling down the street with our friends, watching our little ones say please and thank you at each door, and managing the neighborhood-wide sugar crash that inevitably followed. It was sort of like a Norman Rockwell painting-turned-Salvador Dali. Still, it was lovely.
Is it just me, or are kids these days wearing more sophisticated costumes? Sure, there were the standard bumble bees, fairies, monkeys, cowboys, etc. But I had some pretty intense moments on our front doorstep, passing out candy and innocently asking, “And who are you supposed to be?”
“Kenneth from 30 Rock.” (9-year-old boy.)
“DJ Redfoo from the band LMFAO.” (7 years old.)
“The Spanish Inquisition from Monty Python.” (10-year-old girl.)
Whoa. What happened to the sheet with two holes cut out?
The biggest shock of the evening was the ‘hood’s constituency of college students. Not only did they participate, but they rocked it with the kids! For some reason, I assumed they’d be too drunk or high or busy having weird sex to pass out sweets to little kids.
Our neighborhood is a strange mix of equal parts older folks who have lived here for 30+ years, randy college kids, and young families. Basically, the old folks and young families all dislike the college students for passing out on our lawns, screaming “YOU GOTTA WANT IT!” repeatedly while playing quarters in their backyard at 4am, and leaving a trail of red Solo cups wherever they go – but the young families have a little more grace with them since college was only a few years ago, and we haven’t completely forgotten what it means to have a good time. (The memory, however, grows fainter and fainter.)
Jake attended the local university but I didn’t, so my patience with these monkeys is perhaps scarcer than his. Our back neighbors are my main aggravators. Twenty-four kids live in something like 14 square feet, and everything they do is audible at any point on our property. They are renowned throughout the neighborhood as Trouble, and most of the old folks call the Police Department whenever they so much as breathe funny. We’ve only done it once, and it was after they ignored repeated requests to turn their crappy music down in the middle of the night.
In this particular instance, I didn’t want to leave things awkwardly unresolved, so I bought a case of beer, saddled Seabass to my hip, and walked over to make nice. As soon as I stepped foot on their driveway the unmistakable aroma of pot hit me. But this wasn’t just an errant wisp of pot smoke; No, this house was pulsating with weed. I considered making a new entry in Seabass’ baby book: July 13, 2011. Baby’s first hot box!
Undeterred, we knocked on the door and were met by two skinny guys high as kites. They were nice enough, gladly accepted our beer peace offering , and agreed to keep the blaring midnight Eminem sessions to a minimum.
That lasted about three months.
This past weekend, Eminem and Friends made another high-decibel appearance in the wee hours of the night. The next morning, I took the opportunity to remind the neighbor monkeys that they aren’t the only people who exist in the entire world. This time, I went alone.
We had been gardening that morning, so my shorts and shirt were covered in mud. My hair was nappy – perhaps even matted in places – and my armpits were on overdrive. Still, when the shirtless 21-year-old guy opened his door to find me standing there – NO EXAGGERATION – he put his arm up on the door jamb, eyed me head-to-toe, and said, “Well hello, hello.”
Really? Yes, really.
That arm came down pretty quick when he discovered that a) I’m his neighbor, b) I was pissed, and c) I was ready to stop playing the Nice Neighbor Game and get the cops involved again. By the time I was done with him, he all but dissolved into the floor. Oooh, did that feel good.
Anyway, that’s why I’m shocked that the rest of the college kids in our neck of the woods were so great on Halloween.
One nearby house looks a lot like the one from Animal House, though I think these guys are probably rowdier than those in the movie. Apparently they’ve been visited by the Health Department a number of times for breeding rats or snakes or weasles or God-knows-what. But on Halloween, they were on the ball with creepy music, plenty of candy, and even guys yelling BOO! from behind trash cans. Another house full of college girls had jack-o-lanterns on the front doorstep as the girls waited with a giant bowl of candy for our little ones to trick or treat. It was awesome. I can’t wait for next year.
P.S. Here’s the official Halloween portrait as taken by Robyn Berry. I thought you might like to compare it to last year’s.
P.P.S. Seabass also made it into the paper! Well, the online version. Here’s the link – we’re the last photo.