Saturday, October 24, 2009

Halloween 1968

I was running to the next house, trying to keep up with my friend Blaine Houston. The pillow case was mostly empty, except for a few pieces of candy jumping with each step. I quickly caught up before he rang the bell. My father, and Blaine's father, George, were walking down the sidewalk as we cut across the yards in our neighborhood. Mrs. Bye smiled as she dropped some Sweetarts into my pillow. I thanked her quickly as Blaine was halfway to the next house. Blaine was almost seven years old but big for his age. He was fast but my 16 month head start meant that I could always catch him. The same couldn't be said for George and dad. They were were yelling for me to slow down, but I couldn't let Blaine beat me.

Most of the houselights were on. This was a friendly neighborhood, but it was also a cheap neighborhood and the candy wasn't very good. I asked Blaine if he had a bunch of candy corn. I don't know why I asked, he was hitting the same doors. Maybe I thought his costume was generating candy bars, rather than penny candy and bubble gum.

As we rounded the last corner of our block, George announce, "Trick or Treat is over when we get back to our house." Blaine looked horrified. I wasn't happy either, I turned to dad and asked, "You can take around the next block can't you?"
"No, I'm afraid this will have to be it."
I tried to complain but it was no use. Dad wasn't listening and walked into the house. I continued on to Blaine's house. Blaine wasn't about to stand up to George. George was a fun loving guy but didn't brook any sass from his son and would follow through with any implied threat.

I whispered to Blaine, "This isn't fair. It is barely dark, and all I got is some crappy penny candy and an apple. I'm going to go out again."
Blaine whispered back, "How? Your dad isn't going to take you."
"I'm going to sneak out of my room."
"How are you going to do that?"
"I will pretend to go to bed, then take off the window screen and climb out."
"I wish I could go."
"Just do the same."
"Are you sure we won't get caught."
"Sure. When was the last time they checked to see if you were asleep. My parents never look."
"You're right but I don't know."
"I'll tell you what. I'll be outside your window in half an hour and we'll go together. We'll run up and down a couple more blocks until we get some decent candy and then climb back in the window. They will be none the wiser."

Blaine didn't say anything but after his mother dropped a mini Sugar Daddy in my pillow case, he said, "mom, I'm tired. I think I'm going to go to bed early."
She said, "Are you sure, honey?"
"I'm not surprised he's worn out, after all that running around," answered George.

When I got home I told mom I was going to read for a little while and then go to bed. It took me half an hour to get the screen off the window, because each movement caused it to start screeching horribly. I timed my movements with the doorbell. Every 'Trick or Treat' made me want to get out even quicker. I trimmed down my costume so I could run faster and carry more candy. I had visions of returning with a pillow case full of candy bars.

At Blaine's house his window was sliding back. I slid behind the bushes beside his window. First one leg and then then other slid over the ledge. Blaine dropped to the dirt. I grabbed him, and hissed, "What are you doing out of your room, Blaine!" In my best George Houston voice. Blaine started to scream. I put a hand over his mouth and tackled him. "It's me. I was just joking. Be quiet or we'll be in trouble.

We crossed the street and quickly ran from house to house and around the block. One block down. On to the next block. Two blocks down and we still didn't seem to have much candy. It takes a lot of penny candy, from a lot of houses to make even a small dent in a pillow case. We were running as fast as we could, and didn't appreciate the time it took some households to answer the door and deliver up the candy. This was made even worse by those old people who wanted to talk about our costumes and then handed out more candy corn.

We worked back towards our home block. We hit four houses in a row with diligent owners featuring real chocolate candy bars. We were excited when we rang the fifth bell. There was no answer, but the light was on. I rang it again. No answer. I wanted to head to the next house, "This is taking too long. Lets go!"
"No. We have to go for five bars in a row. I'm ringing the bell again." said Blaine.

Finally the door open and this guy sticks his head out. "Why are you kids ringing my door bell? I'm trying to watch the game."
Blaine and I yell, "Trick or Treat."
"I don't have anything for you so get lost."
"We're not leaving until you give us something," Blaine demanded.
I was thinking it was a waste of time arguing with the guy, but then he said, "Yeah, I got something for you boys, step inside."

No sooner did we step inside, than the old guy locked the door and picked up a big yard stick. I looked at Blaine, and he at I.
"I told you boys to leave me alone. Maybe a beating will teach you some manners."

He started swinging the stick in Blaine's direction. Blaine took off but didn't get past the coffee table. He tripped and knocked the guy's beer onto the carpet. The guy grabbed Blaine's ankle and was about to lay in when I yelled, "Leave my friend alone you big gorilla."

The big gorilla let go of Blaine's leg and came after me. I turned for the door but couldn't get the lock figured out. Blaine took off on a tear for the back door. This distracted the gorilla with the yardstick. He turned back toward Blaine. I made a couple steps toward my friend but then thought better of it. I got the door unlocked. I opened the door to escape when I saw the most frightening sight…

It was Ray and George standing on the front steps about to push the door bell. I yelled something about beating Blaine with a yardstick. George stepped in, took a couple long steps into the kitchen, grabbed the raised yardstick, spun the guy around by the shoulder and dropped him with one fast punch to the face.

Blaine yelled, "Dad you have come to save me!"
"You're not out of trouble yet. I told you Halloween was over and you snuck out of the house. Good thing Ray saw you and Craig headed down the street."
"We're sorry. We won't do it again."
"I know you won't do it again, after I give this yardstick a workout on your rear end." George brought the stick down hard into his open palm. I knew I would be next, so while the attention was on Blaine, I made a break for the door. Dad made a lunge for me but I jagged out of his grip and headed out the door. This took the attention off of Blaine, who made a quick break for the back door. I was racing home and noticed Blaine was behind me when I crossed the street. Blaine was crying and demanding that I save him. "Dad is going to kill me."
"Calm down. Let me think of something."
"You better hurry up because I can see them coming down the sidewalk and he still has the yardstick in his hand! Maybe if we climb back in our rooms and pretend we were never gone they might think it was all a big mistake." I shook my head and Blaine my plan.

We started running. I gave Blaine a boost through the window and wished him luck.

I climbed through the window, stripped my costume off and stashed it and and candy under the bed. I closed the window and pulled the covers up tight.

It wasn't long before there was a roar at the front door. It sounded like Frankenstein, but he wasn't looking for candy, he was looking to tan my hide.

He was yelling even before he got to the bedroom door, "When I tell you, you're done, you're done! There is no going behind my back! And certainly no sneaking out in the middle of the night! I am going to spank you until you can't remember your own name!" And with that he pulled back the covers. I looked at him and he looked at me. Time seemed to stop as I warily eyed the yardstick in his hand. Suddenly a laugh broke from his mouth, "Craig what are you doing here and where is Blaine?"

"Mr. Houston, it was all my idea, I talked Blaine into going out for more Halloween candy. I'm ready to take Blaine's punishment. I was crying while I said this. About this time the phone rang. The timing was perfect.

My dad was on the phone having discovered Blain in my bed. George grabbed by arm and marched me outside. I was exchanged for Blaine.

George looked my dad in the eye, "What are we going to do with them?"
"Boys will be boys." dad replied. Nothing more was said.

Back home, Dad yelled at me, then my mom yelled at me and even my baby sister got in on the action.
"One more thing," dad added, "Where is your candy? It stays with me." I looked around and realized with a cold fear that it was gone.
"I accidently left it under Blaine's bed."

Blaine on the other hand had the presence of mind to bring his back with him.
"All the better. The candy is now his. You should know better than getting him into such serious trouble. Now go to sleep. I don't want to hear another peep out of you."

The next day Blaine told me George went easy on him. I told him I left my candy under his bed. "I'm suppose to give it to you."
"Don't be silly. It's yours. I should give you mine too after you got me out of trouble."
"Actually, I'm suppose to give it to you, for getting you into trouble in the first place."
"I'll tell you what. Leave it here and you can eat it whenever you come over to play."

For the next week, I invited Blaine over to my house to play. I had visions of George introducing my backside to that yardstick; so I wanted to keep my distance. One night I overheard dad and George in the living room. They were recounting our little Halloween story and laughing hysterically. I figured I was safe. It helped that Blaine made sure the yardstick disappeared.