My first memorable Halloween comes back to haunt me every year. My parents had friends who lived along my first newspaper route. They had two children: their son was about 3 years older than me and their daughter was my younger sister’s age.
I remember being invited to go out trick-or-treating with the older son and a couple of his friends. I felt honored to be invited and couldn’t hardly wait for the evening to begin. I wasn’t quite sure why we weren’t going to dress up. I was too excited about being invited to ask any questions.
We waited until it was completely dark before going out. We had bags that I assumed were to hold our candy. I had noticed that the three older fellows had bags that seemed to be quite full already. I quickly learned what was in their bags. The boys opened their sacks and started throwing water balloons and eggs at houses and signs. Kids my age and younger were running away from us in fear.
I asked one of the guys what time it was because I told him I had an 8 p.m. curfew. I didn’t care if I was believed or not; I wanted to get away from them before something bad happened. I was home early that evening and had nothing in my treats bag.
My wife, Lyn, and I used to go to our daughter’s house on Halloween. Either Lyn or Michelle would take the boys out to trick-or-treat. Since I needed something to do, I made myself a scarecrow costume. I got a large pair of bib overalls and stuffed them with straw and a straw hat, a pair of boots and a mask.
I put on the overalls, placed the boots on the wrong feet and quietly sat in a lawn chair near as parents watched their children go up to Michelle’s house.
I could see the parents through my mask and when I saw one of them looking at me, I made a slight movement. Several times that resulted in a slight scream and a loud announcement that the scarecrow had moved. I had a blast that evening. I’ve done that a couple of times since, but the first time was the best.
This year, Stuart, our therapy dog, took over. We dressed him up like a hot dog. He wore his costume to the nursing homes that we visit when they were hosting trick-or-treating for children.
Stuart also donned his costume for his reading program at Beech Grove schools. Students who might be a bit shy about reading out loud in class read a couple of stories to Stuart.
“Hot dogs” sure do stay busy.