Monsters vs Moms

I remember trick or treating with a group of neighborhood kids. We were ages five to eight. We had been out less than hour and were already in Halloween candy sugar overdose mode. We didn’t think things could go better. And then it happened. We turned the corner and were face to face with our first Haunted House. The shrubs and trees were transformed into giant spider webs. The house lights were dimmed, and there was these over sized, elaborately carved (aka scary) jack-o’-lanterns stationed on both sides of stairs leading to the doorway.

We stood there in awe, and scared. We wanted to enter but hesitated. Finally someone, an older kid, , took charge. We followed behind.

Our leader climbed the stairs and rang the doorbell. We waited an eternity (in kid time, that would be one minute), then the door opened slowly. We were frozen with fear.

We were greeted by the biggest Frankenstein monster ever seen in our neighborhood, or any neighborhood. To this day, I can recall his words spoken in bass voice.

He looked down at us and announced, Sorry but the Mistress is not in!.

That was it for us. We were gone. We hid out across the street. peeking out from trees. No amount of coaxing could bring us back. We could hear Frankenstein laughing, then the laughing ended. A woman yelled out something to the monster to stop scaring the kids because they still had a lot of candy to give away. But we, the kids, were not ready to return for the candy.

Years later, I smile and recall that night, but thru adult eyes. I imagine a group of guys laughing and happy to have reaped a reward of endless Mars Bars and and mini boxes of M&M’s. The reward for scaring little kids away. And also I find comfort knowing their Moms and wives probably gave them hell for scaring the neighborhood kids and hoarding the Halloween candy. Moms and wives are stronger than monsters!


Unexpected Treats

Halloween night. I was living in a fourth floor walk up apartment. It wasn’t too late, about 7:30 PM. The doorbell rang.  I wasn’t sure who was at the door, but it was Halloween and I lived on the 4th floor in a building with no elevator. It was probably kids.

I could hear the Trick or Treaters climbing the staircase. Sounded like 2 kids, probably boys. I imagined they were about twelve years old. I didn’t have any Halloween candy, All I found was an unopened box of Cheeze-Its.

I waited for the knock. The kids arrived slightly winded; Two boys, Probably twelve, like I guessed. They arrived minus costumes but armed with oversized, plain brown paperbags. They gave out a semi-enthusiastic Trick or Treat greeting. In hindsight, their greeting sounded more like a question than a greeting. I imagine they weren’t expecting too much.

I explained that all I could offer was an unopened box of Cheeze-Its. I was feeling a bit guilty, My mom always had bags of Halloween candy. Mini chocolate bars and Hershey Kisses wrapped in orange foil. I expected disappointment. Their response really surprised me. They were in true shock and awe. An unopened full/adult size box of Cheeze-Its for them with No sharing required. They were really excited.

Their smiles would have been enough, but just they kept thanking me as they ran down the staircase. They looked as if I had given them billion dollars.

Honestly, I think they thanked me a hundred times. I could hear them descending the staircase, still talking about their score. They were impressed. They had been given a full box of Cheez-Its with no conditions attached. It was their box, for them only! I actually heard them planning a return visit for the following year.

Unfortunately I moved that Spring. but 20 years later, I am wishing them an eternity of Family Size snack boxes.


Janet Cormier is a painter, writes prose and poetry, and performs comedy. JC prefers different and original over pretty. She loves collecting stuff, but cleaning not so much. Janet also talks to strangers. A lot. Her column now appears weekly on Oddball Magazine.