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Halloween Humor By Dave Barry

16 October 2013 - 03:21 PM

I just love Dave Barry!

I love Halloween and not just because it gives me a chance to buy a new mailbox. No, what I love most is the fun of opening my front door and hearing costumed youngsters happily shout the traditional Halloween greeting: “(Nothing).”

That’s what happens at our house anyway. The youngsters just stand there, silent. They have no idea that I have just opened the door. They are as blind as bats because their eyes are not lined up with the eye holes in their masks.

Poorly aligned eye holes are an ancient Halloween, tradition dating back to at least my childhood. My early Halloween memories consist of staggering around disguised as a ghost, unable to see anything but bed sheet, and consequently bonking into trees or falling into brooks. The highlight of my ghost career came in the 1954 Halloween parade when I marched directly into the butt of a horse.

Today’s children, of course, do not wear bed sheets. They wear manufactured costumes representing Saturday-morning cartoon characters. But I am pleased to note that the eye holes still don’t line up.

So when I open the door on Halloween, I am confronted by three or four imaginary heros, such as G.I. Joe, Conan the Barbarian and Oliver North, who would look very terrifying except that they are three feet tall and facing in random directions. They stand there silently for several seconds before an adult voice hisses from the darkness behind them: “Say ‘Trick or treat!’ ”

This voice belongs to good old dad, who wants more than anything to be home watching television and eating taco dip in bulk, but who must instead accompany the children on their trick-or-treat rounds to make sure people like me don’t put razor blades in the candy. This is a traditional Halloween danger that the local perky TV new personalities warn us about every year, using the Frowny Face they put on when they have to tell us bad news.

I can feel dad watching me suspiciously from somewhere out there, and I think to myself: What if he’s armed? So I am very careful about how I hand out treats. “Well, boys or perhaps girls!” I say to the licensed characters, in a voice so nonthreatening as to make Mr. Rodgers sound like Dracula. “How about some NICE CANDY in its ORIGINAL PACKAGING that has NOT BEEN TAMPERED WITH?” Alerted by the sound of my voice, the licensed characters start lurching blindly toward me, thrusting trick-or-treat bags already containing enough chocolate to meet the nation’s zit standards well into the next century.

Of course there is more to Halloween than massive carbohydrate overdoses. There is also the tradition of scooping the insides — technically, the “goop” — out of the pumpkin, a chore that always falls to me. When I finally finish carving Mr. Jack-O’-Lantern, I put him on the front porch, there to provide hours of pleasure for the trick-or-treaters — except that (a) they can’t see and (B)/> Mr. Jack-O’-Lantern immediately gets his face kicked into mush by older youngsters playing pranks.

Pranks — defined as “activities that struck you truly hilarious when you were a teenager but now that you are a property owner make you wish you had a high voltage fence” — are another ancient Halloween tradition. As a youth, I played several thousand myself.

In fact, I figure there must be a God of Prank Justice, who keeps track of everything we do when we’re young and then uses Halloween to settle the score. (“Okay that’s his 14th mailbox. He has 57 to go.” Vastly enjoying this spectacle, I bet, are the ghost of all my former victims. Assuming they can see through their eye holes.