Monday, November 2, 2009

10 Thoughts: Halloween 2009

Jalen went as an astronaut this year. His costume ranks as a solid second place behind 2006's Green Lantern (he will never, ever top that one) and just ahead of 2007's firefighter (unintentionally timely, insanely well-received).

At 5:38 AM on Halloween morning, Jalen frantically woke me up, repeating "It's Halloween! It's Halloween! It's Halloween!" over and over. In that moment, as Mrs. Bootleg pretended to be asleep and oblivious to J's exclamations, I realized why so many African-American fathers abandon their families. Oh, don't look at me that way. It was five thirty-eight in the morning! Some of you were JUST going to bed!

Stately Bootleg Manor sits on a lonely cul-de-sac and a few hundred yards from a moderately-trafficked thoroughfare. Translation: we don't live in a "neighborhood", as much as we live on a spoon-shaped street with some townhomes and apartments. You know those less fortunate minority families that drive to someone else's neighborhood for trick-or-treating? Well, now you know another.

We met up with the family of one of J's best friends. As The BootlegMobile pulled up to their house, we were greeted by the little boy's aunt who was dressed up as Sarah Palin. Twelve months too late? Perhaps. But, her skirt n' jacket combo was accessorized with a "Miss Alaska" sash and authentic – albeit unloaded – shotgun. She was entrusted with handing out candy to the kiddies. Hey, it was unloaded. She told us so.

The father of J's friend suggested we make the 'Ween less hallow by bringing along two super-sized stadium souvenir cups full of beer. As the holder of a top secret government clearance, so much as a misdemeanor could cost me my clearance and – subsequently – my livelihood. And, you can bet your a** that Mrs. Bootleg is always the first one to nag me about responsibili… Well, I assume she would be nagging me if she hadn't just left the house with a sports bottle filled with frozen daiquiri in one hand and Jalen's hand in the other.

Whatever San Diego may aesthetically lack when compared to the autumnal season in other parts of the country, we more than made up for as the outdoor temperature at sundown was 70 degrees. This also kept the assorted whore costumes from being covered up with coats. Keep this in mind if you're ever trying to figure out the best time to visit the west coast, y'all.

Jalen dutifully rang doorbells, accepted candy and – on several embarrassing occasions – walked right inside people's houses. None of us could figure out why until he started providing real-time updates from the living rooms that were watching the World Series. "The Yankees have zero and the Phillies have three!" And, for those wondering, I did scold the boy: "Jalen, the proper form is to first read off the score of the team that's winning."

As stated, J went as an astronaut. This led to several people fishing through their giant bowls of miniature candy to hand him a fistful of Milky Way. Each time, it was accompanied by some variation of, "Since you're an astronaut…" Cute the first two times, downright creepy by the fifth or sixth.

OK…can anyone pinpoint when the handout of full-sized candy bars began occurring in earnest? This was inconceivable when I was a kid. Back then, the Halloween highlight was hitting up the house that handed out quarters. You had an hour of Ms. Pac-Man if you went back often enough.

Lowlight of the evening: We passed a "haunted house" set-up towards the end of the night. Our adult accompaniment had warned us that the homeowners are demented sickos who derive genuine pleasure from scaring small children. Sure enough, we were within a few hundred feet when one of 'em came running out of the house in full-on "Jason" get-up with a prop chainsaw that sounded like a real chainsaw. The freaked-out screams from the kids he passed was genuinely disturbing. Thankfully, he ran in the opposite direction from us, so J didn't see a thing.

Thankfully for "Jason", that is. Or, as one, umm…unnamed parent in our group declared:

"If he had come near MY son, I'd have [expletive] killed him."

Best. Halloween. Ever.


SHough610 said...

Hey! I'd been asleep for two, maybe three hours by 5:38 PST.

The full-sized candy bar phenomenon is one of the reasons I (to quote the great Charles Barkley) hate my mama for having me too early. I grew up in a upper-middle class neighborhood, NO ONE gave out full-size bars (though one family did set up a cotton candy machine in their driveway and hand that out).

As for the neighborhood scare house, it probably was a chainsaw without the chain. That little wrinkle has been added to haunted hay rides (I need to tell you my hayride horror story that involves ripped pants, a tooth knocked loose, a lost cell phone, and the Beltway Sniper) and it still scares the shit out of me.

Tom said...

One house in my neighborhood did the full-sized candy bar thing. More amusing -- it was the school nurse's house. This prevented us from going back more than once because she knew everyone.

radio flyer said...

unsolicited water cooler work discussion today by co-worker;

"what is this bullshit about bringing beers with you while walking your kids around for Halloween?..."

just go to a party or drink before and afterwards."

I'm torn on this one.

That Bootleg Guy said...

HA! This is a water cooler conversation I can get behind. I'd argue that I *did* drink beforehand and only took one beer out with me.

Those who tow the keg in the wagon while following their trick or treating kids are a different animal altogether.