With Halloween getting closer and closer, my sometimes-crazy memory travels back to the years that our grandsons loved celebrating by dressing in costumes and walking their neighborhood with their parents participating in the Halloween Trick or Treat exercise.
Lyn and I would travel to their house and mind the family home and distribute candy to all that stopped. We enjoyed seeing the boys in costume and passing out candy for them. After a couple of years, we were pretty good at our candy distribution duties, and I was beginning to become bored.
I thought about what I could do to have some fun during our Halloween evening while we were in-charge of their house. I made myself a costume out of an old pair of bib-overalls, a big straw hat, a mask, boots placed on the wrong feet, big gloves and hay sticking out of my sleeves and pants legs. I had the look of a scarecrow.
I placed a large outdoor chair in their front yard, near the street so when families came walking down the sidewalk, I would be close to them. From previous experiences at their house, I knew that the parents would generally stand on the sidewalk while their kids walked up to each house and rang the doorbell. My chair was positioned so that I had a clear view of them, but they couldn’t see my face.
Children and parents often came in a group. There might be four or five little goblins headed for the door while their parents waited. I would sit quietly and motionless until I was fairly sure that one of those adults was looking in my direction. I would then quickly move one of my arms and then return it to its original position.
Blood-curdling screams often followed, with an adult trying to explain that the ”scarecrow” had moved. I had a blast messing with those parents.
One evening, I noticed three teenage girls walking down the street. I wasn’t paying much attention to them until one of them started heading my way. I first figured she was headed to one of the houses behind me. Soon I discovered that was not her plan at all.
She walked directly to me and before I knew what was happening, she started to sit on my lap and called out to her friends, “Look at my new boyfriend.”
As she started to sit, I knew I had a problem. My hands were in my lap, and I was certain that wasn’t going to work out well. I threw my arms into the air just as she was about to land on my lap. Seeing my arms move, she screamed and totally reversed her direction midair.
Upon landing on her feet, she scrambled to the street while screaming, “BAD SNOWMAN! BAD SNOWMAN!” She then disappeared down the street with her friends.
They returned about an hour later. The once-terrified young girl had calmed down, so we had a chance to chat a bit. I asked her why she had referred to me as a “BAD SNOWMAN!” She responded that she was so flustered that she couldn’t think of the word, “Scarecrow”.
This was probably about 25 years ago. I sure haven’t forgotten that evening and I bet she hasn’t either.
Shonk is a 1960 graduate of Southport High School, a ’63 grad of Indiana Central College (now the University of Indianapolis) and a retired bus driver from Beech Grove Schools. He can be reached through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.