(The following events will forever be known in my family as “The Great Halloween Candy Caper”. You should know that I’m recounting these events to the best of my recollection. However, the trauma we suffered at the time has left great gaps in our collective memories, so I apologize in advance if I’ve failed to tell this story exactly as it occurred.)
Let me preface this story with a caveat: my wife and I were relative Halloween noobs when these events took place. Not that we never enjoyed Halloween as kids; we were just too busy as adults to spend much time handing out candy to trick-or-treaters on Halloween.
By way of explanation, I have owned and operated martial arts studios on and off for years. Being child-free during the majority of those years, I rarely closed my business on the day when the words “Trick or Treat” are commonly put to the test. This would prove to be our downfall, as you’re about to see.
Granted, we had spent many a Halloween hosting our own festivities for our students, so we thought we had a pretty good handle on how the whole ‘trick or treat’ thing worked out. On the year in question, however, our inexperience and naivete cost us our treats and more…
As new parents, we were determined to ensure that the kid’s holidays would be something special. But despite the best of intentions, our child’s first year Halloween festivities turned out to be a bust. (As it turns out, dressing your kid up in a scratchy and hot monkey costume in the Texas heat does not a happy child make. #parentfail, me thinks.)
So, when Halloween rolled around again, we were bound and determined to make it big time fun for the kid. I dressed him up in a Superman costume – fake muscles and all – and took him to work with me at my kickboxing studio, which is where my wife and I typically made the parental hand off every day.
The plan was, mom would go home, start handing out candy, and then we’d take the boy out together after I turned things over to my staff at work. This sounded like a completely reasonable and fool-proof plan to me, and I was actually looking forward to raiding the kid’s treats once we completed our trip. (And let me tell you, there is nothing like a two-year-old in a Superman costume to get people handing over the goods on Halloween – if you can find one to take with you this year, I highly recommend it.)
So, as I pulled up in our driveway, fully primed to enjoy the third-best day of the year with my family (but if you hate pumpkin pie it’s obviously the second-best), what do I see but…
…my wife, two-year-old Superman in her arms, chasing these two teenage girls up the block. And screaming her head off no less, while this cheerleader and her punk rock sidekick beat feet, leaving her and the world’s cutest Superman in the dust.
Now, let me just say, anyone who knows my wife understands that she is not the screaming-your-head-off kind. Uh-uh, no siree.
Nope… she’s more of a “let’s-just-smile-politely-while-I-wait-until-you-realize-you’re-a-jerk” kind of girl. I’m definitely the hot-head in the family, that’s a given, so imagine my shock to see her running up the street waving her one free arm and screaming bloody murder.
All the while, I can see my little boy’s face peeking out over her shoulder, with a look that says, “Dad! Someone stole mom and replaced her with this crazy person! I tell you, I never even saw them make the switch – save yourself while you still have time!”
Having been around when my wife did actually blow her top once or twice, I have to say I felt for the kid. Really, I did. But at that moment, I was mostly concerned with finding out what the ruckus was about.
So, I got out of the car, and walked out to meet her in the drive. She had given up on her hot pursuit of the suspects (suspect for what yet, I had no idea, but I figured it was something dastardly) and was huffing and puffing back up to me with the boy on her hip. The look on her face pretty much told me that she was ready to chew lead and spit bullets. I think I actually backed up a step or two as she approached.
“So,” I said, “What’s up babe?”
“The nerve of those two girls! Argh! The absolute nerve!” And then she went into a stream of highly inventive near-obscenities (my wife never cusses, especially not in front of our child) in a scattered narrative that explained, in sordid detail, why she was running up the block after the cheerleader and punk rock girl.
Which is roughly when I realized our mistake. If I could draw your attention to the beginning of the story, you may recall that as parents were we pretty much Halloween noobs. And for my part, I was completely focused on the “treat” and not at all thinking about the “trick” part.
What, me – get tricked? That’s absurd, I distinctly remember thinking while preparing for the night’s festivities.
Which is why, when my wife asked me what to do with the candy while she took the boy across the street to show him off to the neighbors, I responded thusly:
“Oh, I don’t know. Just stick a sign out there that says, ‘take one.’ Yeah, that ought to take care of it.”
I think you can see the fault in my logic here.
Now, in my defense, my wife agreed and thought this was a splendid idea. The results, however, were less than desirable, as you might have guessed.
As it turns out, my wife was coming back from said neighbor’s house when she saw Cheerleader and Punk Rock Girl leaving our driveway snickering and carrying on in a highly suspicious and very teenage-like fashion. Being the super-sleuth she is, she determined that some foul crime had been perpetrated on our persons and abode, and went to investigate.
Now, any normal and reasonable Halloween trickster would have merely emptied the bowl into their bag. That way, when the home owners showed up, they would just assume that kids had taken big handfuls and emptied the bowl faster than normal. No biggie.
But these two masters of skulduggery, they couldn’t just be content with the old “take all the candy and disappear” bit.
Oh no. Instead –
THEY TOOK THE FREAKING BOWL, TOO!!!
Oh, the humanity! That bowl had been in our family for, well, a few years at least. It was large, plastic, orange, and cost about $2 at the dollar store. But it had sentimental value, mostly because my wife and I were forced, upon its absence from our lives, to realize the utter and complete foolishness of leaving a bowl full of candy unattended on your front porch, when the theme of the day is “trick or treat”. A subtle distinction, I know…
And that’s the true story of the Great Halloween Candy Caper.
(P.S. – I found our plastic candy bowl in the park the very next day. Apparently, after escaping my wife and the world’s cutest Superman, the two girls realized the huge gaping hole in their evil plan and dumped the evidence so the cops couldn’t pin the crime on them. I CSI’d the bowl, of course, but the prints turned out to be untraceable. – M.D.M.)