Like every other year, I was dreading Halloween. Not because I hate the holiday itself, but because I have a (not-so-wonderfully-behaved) dog. Vito HATES Halloween.
Because I sometimes have a lapse in reality, every year I think to myself, “THIS year it’s going to be different. THIS year, Vito is NOT going to bark his head off until he becomes hoarse. THIS year, he will come to the door with me and greet the little monsters with a sniff. THIS year I will dress him up and he will LOVE Halloween.”
We live in a neighborhood that produces many trick-or-treaters. On the big night if you look outside you will see swarms of costumed-kids toting pillowcases and a greedy ‘gimme candy’ attitude. Kids are actually brought in from other neighborhoods to go trick-or-treating up and down our streets. Big SUVs will pull up in front of the house, six or seven kids who are trying to pass off baggy jeans and hooded sweatshirts will get out and bombard the door, practically wipe out my candy bowl, then hop back into the car and DRIVE to the next house. Um, seriously? Can’t you put at least a little effort into it? And walk the 10 feet to the next house? I mean, really.
(And when did “kids” start sporting facial hair and a rack that would make The Girls Next Door jealous?)
So with all of this fun stuff on the horizon, I got myself ready for Halloween. I’ve been mentally preparing Vito for the big night for weeks. These motivating pep talks would go something like this:
ME: “Vito, it’s almost Halloween!”
VITO: (blank stare)
ME: “You know, when the kids in the neighborhood dress up, and then come to house, yell and scream on the doorstep…”
VITO: (blinking, head cocked to the side)
ME: “…and Mommy gives them candy…and Vito is a QUIET GOOD BOY who doesn’t say a peep?”
VITO: (sniffing his crotch)
ME: “Remember that holiday, V?”
It was a pretty good talk.
This Halloween was going to be fun. I had raced home from work (after stopping at the liquor store and picking up the biggest bottle of vodka known to the earth) and got there before it was dark. Only a few kids had started on their night out.
Because Halloween was on a Friday night this year, I knew we’d get a ton of kids. Plus, the weather was cooperating nicely, and kids could actually wear their costumes around the neighborhood. I remember being a kid and trick-or-treating when it was twenty degrees out. After a screaming and crying match at home about not wanting to wear my winter coat over my pretty ballerina costume, I would head out into the night. I’d be greeted with things like, “Happy Halloween! Look at you! Are you a skier?” Awful memories.
I had been buying candy for weeks, filling up the big bowl in the living room. (Mr. KK has a sweet tooth, so I had to keep replenishing the inventory.) The other night I sat down and made 52 goodie bags for the kids that had 3-4 pieces of candy in them. As always, I wanted to be the “cool” house on the block. What? Only a Milky Way from the neighbors? Here’s a whole bag filled with candy from ME!
When I got home Vito was gated at the top of the stairs. In the dark. Uh oh.
ME: “It’s not going so well, is it?”
MR. KK: “Not so much.”
Our doorbell has been broken for three years; it stopped working shortly after we moved in. Thanks to our laziness to fix it, Halloween is a little easier because Vito doesn’t ever hear the doorbell actually ringing. He can just see the kids running up to the doorstep.
Mix up a martini.
Cue the incessant barking.
Let the madness begin!
Kids, kids and more kids! Most were wearing costumes, which was nice. Last year Shrek was the big costume. This year, I saw a few Hillarys, lots of Batmen and a few Harry Potters.
A martini definitely makes watching EVERY kid ring a doorbell that doesn’t work a little funnier.
I was running out of treat bags! But it was so early! Where did all of these kids COME from???
Some kids were very sweet. I’d hand them their treat bag and they’d go running to their parents yelling, “Look! We get THE BAGS here!” Sure do, princess. Coolest house in the hood right here.
Some kids, however, not so nice.
GROUP OF KIDS: (skipping the unworking doorbell completely and going right for opening my front door) “Trick or treat!”
ME: “Hello!!! Happy Halloween!!!” (Martinis make Halloween FUN)
SUPERHERO: “What do you have in there?”
ME: “Candy.” I drop a Kit Kat into his plastic orange pumpkin.
SUPERHERO: “I already have a lot of those.”
ME: “Oh.” I peek into his pumpkin, which was filled with Kit Kats.
ME: “Wanna trade it in?”
SUPERHERO: (dumps his Kit Kat back into the bowl and takes TWO pieces of new candy. No wonder the kids graduating these days are making six figures. They have excellent negotiating skills.)
In a move of complete desperation, Mr. KK and I open the remaining six treat bags and dump them on top of the 40 or 50 other pieces of candy we have in the bowl. Great. Now I was just a house that handed out candy.
There are about 20 pieces of candy left in the bowl.
Vito is still barking. His voice is so hoarse I’m surprised his throat isn’t bleeding.
Another group of kids come to the door and stick their grubby hands in my candy bowl.
ME: “I can get that for you.”
KID WITH WEIRD FACE PAINT: “Ugh. That barking dog is annoying me.”
We run out of candy.
We actually have two small pieces left, but if a group of six comes the door, I can only guarantee 33% of them won’t come back and harm my house.
I look around the house for something – anything – to give the kids. I come up with water crackers and broccoli rabe, neither of which I think they’d appreciate.
Embarrassingly, we go into lockdown mode. We shut off the front lights, and every light inside. We draw the curtains on the picture window. We shut the blinds in the sunroom. We stay out of view from the little goblins outside. We are prisoners in our own house.
Vito, however, loves that Halloween has ended early. He runs down the steps and jumps from one couch to the other, panting and barking.
I peek out the window and see MILLIONS of kids walking around the neighborhood.
We are THAT house. The one on the street who has their lights off and doesn’t hand out candy. I want to make a sign for the front door that says, “We DID have candy! I swear! But we ran out! Come back next year!”