Sunday, October 30, 2011


As Halloween and trick-or-treating approach, I find myself wondering how to attract trick-or-treaters to our house. Since we moved into our new place two years ago, the closest thing we’ve had to an actual trick-or-treater was a stray cat...either that, or it was a very tiny child in a very realistic costume.

Living here has caused me to suffer from an extreme case of trick-or-treat withdrawal. Where we used to live, Halloween always was a much-anticipated event for me. One of our neighbors would set up a haunted house in his yard, which attracted kids from miles around. Then after they toured his haunted house, they’d go trick-or-treating on our street. It wasn’t uncommon for me to hand out candy to 80 or more trick-or-treaters.

When we moved into our new house in November of 2009, I asked one of the women in the neighborhood how many trick-or-treaters she’d had on Halloween.

“Oh, about 40,” she said.

It was about half the number I’d been accustomed to, but it still was good enough for me. I looked forward to experiencing my next Halloween in a new neighborhood.

Wanting the event to be special, I stocked up on full-sized candy bars. Then on Halloween night, I turned on all of the outside lights and waited for the trick-or-treaters to arrive. Three hours later, I was still waiting.

“I don’t understand it!” I said to my husband. “The lady on the next street said she had 40 trick-or-treaters last Halloween! What happened to them? Did they have a mass migration and all head south for the winter?”

He made no effort to conceal the “what planet are you from anyway?” look he gave me.

“Have you ever noticed that we live in the middle of the woods and have a 400-foot unlit, unpaved driveway?” he asked. “Or that our house isn’t visible from the road even when we have all of the outside lights on? Have you forgotten how many hunters drove up here last November, thinking our driveway was an old logging road where they could park their pickups?”

“Yeah, but surely word must have spread around here by now that there’s a house here with people living in it!” I said.

“I hate to say it, but the only living things you’re going to see around here tonight are our dogs...and maybe a skunk...and hopefully, not at the same time.”

This Halloween, I want to make certain the trick-or-treaters know we’re here because I’ve once again bought candy bars in anticipation of their arrival.

“I hope you bought my favorites – nothing with nuts,” my husband said. “Because you know we’re going to end up stuck with all of the candy bars again.”

“Think positive!” I said. “Besides that, you’re diabetic, so I don’t want see you anywhere within sniffing distance of that candy. I don’t need you to keel over from a Hershey-induced coma!”

I paused before adding, “Maybe I should line the driveway with lit jack-o-lanterns, or maybe plastic ones with battery-operated lights in them. That way, it will look more visitor-friendly and less like the path to the children-eating witch’s house in Hansel and Gretel.”

“Do you know how long those decorations would last our there?” he asked. “Why don’t you just hang a sign that says, “Here! Steal or smash these! No one will see you do it!”

“Well, what if I put up a sign at the end of the driveway that says, “Hey, kids! Get your full-sized candy bars here!”

“Sounds like something the witch in Hansel and Gretel would do to lure them into her stew pot!” he said. He looked thoughtful for a moment, then said, “Why don’t you take a lantern and a chair, sit at the end of the driveway, and give out the candy there?”

My mouth fell open. “All alone in the pitch dark? With my luck, I’d probably get mugged by a Kit-Kat addicted bear!”

So I honestly don’t know what to expect this Halloween. I’m hoping some brave soul actually will have the guts to hike up our dark, spooky driveway and dare to ring the doorbell.

In the meantime, I’m seriously considering renting a couple of those big 15-million candlepower searchlights, just to make sure the trick-or-treaters know we’re here.

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