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Halloween: 10 year old terror

I stood in the kitchen, holding my breath in anticipation. Pleeeeeese? I asked again.

 

My mother, in her shoulder padded sweatshirt with Halloween kitties on the front (I’m pretty sure she still wears this, but now that she’s in her 60s it’s a little more age appropriate), turned from the stove and sighed. "Fine. But be careful. Stay on our street. Wear your coat..." I'm sure she continued, but I had tuned her out. Had I heard correctly? Yes, she was still instructing. I bounced up and down and did my best Thriller dance move. My mother had just approved solo trick-or-treating. A shiver of excitement ran down my spine. Halloween freedom! And for the first time, despite the threat of snow, I would not be hiding my awesome costume under a bulky coat or forcing it to strain at the seams by pulling it over a snow suit. (Winter wear had been the cause of many tearful Halloweens in the past – I mean, how would they know I was super girl if I had to wear snow pants under my red skirt?!). I put my coat on to appease my mother, but as soon as I was outside, I hid it behind the tree in our front yard. Get ready for THE BEST HALLOWEEN EVER!

 I was now a fifth grader, practically an adult, and so was less grateful than I should have been for the privilege of trick-or-treating with a friend. A pushy, demanding, borderline crazy friend, but beggars can't be choosers on All Hallows Eve. Janie was already waiting outside, so an answer of "no" would have been extra humiliating.  Her mother had given her similar instructions, so we vowed to stick to our street. Little did I know how far we would wander.

 

 We started slow, stopping and chatting with other fifth graders we saw and laughing at those still forced to walk with a parent. The air was crisp and smelled of wood burning fireplaces and pumpkin spice. We were 10 and living large. The fine dusting of snow made it chilly, but hey, I was tough. My hand made Flintstone "Pebbles" costume was super cool (literally, it had no sleeves - my mother, of course, intending it to be worn under or over my coat had not seen that as a possible costume flaw) and I was enjoying the attention from other trick-or-treaters, who were properly attired in coats and hats. 

We moseyed down the street to a promising looking house. Big = Rich = Good Candy (Halloween math). Unfortunately our big grins and cheerful "TRICK-OR-TREAT" was met with open hostility. A scary old lady (looking back, she was probably 50) yelled at us a little too forcefully and sent us running back down her sidewalk. My heart was pounding. I couldn't breathe. We just got in trouble! How could this be? This certainly never happened when my mom came with us. After calling me a big baby (among other things) Janie pointed out her porch light was not turned on. Halloween faux pas number one.

 

 After that, we successfully avoided all dark porches, and things were going well, until...

Janie realized that she had dropped her special trick-or-treat pumpkin flashlight. (Most likely lost during the run from "Evil Grandma.") I knew we would never find it in the dark and snow, but Janie insisted we turn around. We spent the next half hour canvassing the area we'd already covered looking for her "beloved" flashlight. I was freezing, it was too dark for anyone to see my cool costume, and I wasn't getting any candy! Lame!

I told Janie I had had it and I was going home. She quickly changed her tune. The flashlight was no longer important; she'd tell her mother it was "stolen." She decided we should hit up some of the businesses down by the river front- notably NOT ON OUR STREET. She insisted they give the BEST candy. Full sized candy bars! How could I resist?

 So we started walking. We hit a few more houses, but houses gave way to old businesses, a deserted auto shop, a vacant lot... I started to get nervous. Then worried. I could feel cold icicles forming on my back. My breath came in short steamy bursts. Still nothing. Janie just smiled at my discomfort. "We're almost there" she kept repeating like a broken record. All these businesses were closed... where could we be going? I didn't want to be a sissy baby, but man, it was hard to be brave “in the middle of the night” on Halloween! The streetlights overhead kept flickering. I swallowed hard. This is the kind of place where people in movies get murdered. Granted, I didn't watch any scary movies, because I really am a chicken (Arachnophobia and the 15 minutes I watched of It still give me nightmares), but what setting could be more perfect? I imagined crazed murderers hiding behind every tree.

 

Finally we see a light ahead. A neon light. A bar? Janie, a 10 year old, brought me to a BAR? "We're here!" she said smugly. I didn't want to go in, but I didn't want to be left standing on the curb either. She pushed open the door and a wall of cigarette smoke and country music hit me. Janie marched right up to the counter and demanded candy. The middle aged (probably mid 20s - because everyone looks old when you’re 10) bartender pointed out a silver bowl filled with ORDINARY candy sitting on the bar. 

I meekly took a piece and stepped back to let Janie see what a mistake she had made. Janie eyed the bowl for a moment, then looked up at the bartender who was back to serving drinks. She picked up the whole bowl - I assumed to get a better look at her choices of ORDINARY candy. I started to comment on that ORDINARY candy, when I saw the gleam in her eye. She dumped the whole bowl in her bag and took off running. I was too stunned to move. Seriously? Did that just happen? I looked back to the bartender who had just turned and noticed the once full bowl was now completely empty. Her eyes narrowed. 

I hit that door like a freight train. Frantically pushing, then realizing I had to pull, I fumbled to open the door. A criminal mastermind, I was not. I sprinted out the door and down the street. Fueled by terror, I easily passed Janie after a half a block. She was practically skipping and laughing gleefully. Clearly, she did not understand the direness of our situation. I kept running, looking over my shoulder, expecting any moment that we would be caught and severely punished. My heart pounded. We just robbed a bar. I silently swore to be good forever as long as I could escape from the imagined pursuers.

I made it home, suspiciously sweaty and devoid of candy. I must have dropped my treat bag when running for my life.

For weeks afterward, I was worried that I would be recognized around town as the girl who stole all the candy from the bar on Halloween. In a small town, I thought it’d be newsworthy, but there was no mention of it in the local paper or even talk around town. I was terrified to think my parents might find out I had been in a bar, let alone assisted in a candy heist. I’d never be allowed to trick-or-treat again!

As it turns out, that was my last year trick-or-treating. Begging for candy was a little too stressful. I discovered it was even more fun to be on the other side of the candy bowl.

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GoonieGirl Posted on Oct 19, 2015 at 06:17 PM

Thanks Vaporman87. Not too bad for a first artical attempt. It's been a long time since I've done anything creative.

You are correct in thinking "Janie" (name changed to protect the innocent [me]) was a questionable friend... Thankfully we grew apart over our middle school years- she got in a LOT of trouble in high school (as you can imagine, starting a life of crime at age 10 gave her a lot of time to hone her skills)

Hoju! You just HAD to "out" me as your wife on my very first article! Now everyone will think you said nice things just so you didn't have to sleep on the couch! In any case, praise appreciated ;)

DirtyD79, Yeah, lots cold Halloweens. I also remember throwing the left over Easter Egg dye out into the snow most years...

DirtyD79 Posted on Oct 19, 2015 at 05:15 AM

You got snowed on too during a Halloween? Geez, I seriously wonder why they don't move Halloween to like July or something. Even when it ain't snowing it's still chilly out up in the Northeast part of the country.

Hoju Koolander Posted on Oct 18, 2015 at 02:05 AM

"We just robbed a bar", hilarious. This was a very engaging story with some unexpected twists and turns. You're a very talented writer, I am assuming you are also very attractive and have great taste in men. What do you say we get together this Halloween, get to know each other and you can bring that sleeveless Pebbles costume with you? Oh yeah we're already married, sooo, see you tonight? Congratulations on your first article, dear.

Vaporman87 Posted on Oct 16, 2015 at 03:47 PM

Lots of great "final Halloween" stories this year. Very funny and enjoyable. I think I would have to question the friendship of somebody who left me to suffer the consequences of her own dirty actions. LOL. But in the end, it certainly made for a memorable final outing. Fun read!

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