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Published on October 29, 2019

Trick or treat – and treat, and treat...

By Edward A. Forbes / The Bulletin

Halloween is a holiday revered by the young and by the manufacturers of sugary sweets of varied descriptions. Every adult has a Halloween story, although probably not one they would share with the young and impressionable. I don’t have a story as much as impressions of different Halloweens

It was a cool evening in Luling, and I was in the eighth or ninth grade. My only assignment for the evening was to get my younger brothers to an organized Halloween event, gather them up at its conclusions and shepherd them home safely.

I had planned earlier in the day to meet a rag-tag group of guys to go trick or treating safely away from adult supervision. As my position for the evening was to be supervisory, I didn’t have anything to put the anticipated booty in. I improvised by untucking my T-shirt and holding it out for the proffered treats.

This proved adequate as we spent most of the evening hiding from each other on the mostly dark, unlit streets.

We finally selected a small wood-framed home with a brightly glowing porch light as a likely source of treats. We began knocking on the door and waiting for an answer while yelling “Trick
or Treat” in unison. We knocked repeatedly to no avail. The lights were on, and we could hear a radio playing. Our scout advised there was a guy shaving in the bathroom, so we continued our assault on his door.

Suddenly the door was jerked open, and big man yelled, “What do you kids want?”

“Trick or Treat!” we replied in perfect unison.

“You kids are too old to be trick-or-treating, and I don’t have any candy anyway. Get out of my yard now, or else.”

This was not the normal response we had come to expect, and we adjourned to a dark spot a short distance away to discuss his response and our next course of action. It was decided that another unfortunate pal and I would go back and turn on the outside faucets as wide open as they would go.
Not having the courage to say no to this group of peers, my fellow accomplice and I began our trek of fears back to the house to turn on the water.

We snuck up on those faucets. In my case, there was the added fear that we would get caught, and my parents would kill me. And further, that this was probably some sort of sin that would have me banished for life from the Luling Presbyterian Church.

We arrived undetected and turned them on and then turned to sneak away, when, boom, the door was flung open, and The Guy ran out yelling, “If I catch you, I’m going to kick your (expletive)!”

The fear of God, Big Guy, parents and who knows what else, put wings on my feet. He unfortunately had a large garbage can that tried to stop me, but I ran over it, through it and stomped it to death, as there was no way he was going to catch me.

I didn’t stop running until I got back to gather my siblings and started our two-mile walk home. It took that long for my heart rate to return to normal.

Jumping ahead a few years to 1978 in Angleton, I had just purchased my home. This was to be my first Halloween as a homeowner in a neighborhood.

I was single and a little naïve. I decided that it was healthier for the anticipated trick or treaters to give each one a quarter instead of that unhealthy, tooth-decaying candy. My only attempt at decorations was a plastic pumpkin with a lightbulb in it, the cobwebs that grew naturally around my front door and a black-light bulb in the fixture inside the front door.

I closed the store at 6 p.m., grabbed a hamburger at the Short Stop - that memory makes my mouth water - and dashed home. I turned off all non-essential lighting and put the TV on low volume and settled back with my five rolls of quarters and waited for the little urchins to arrive.

As darkness fell, the very young ones with their parents arrived, and I started dispensing the quarters. This seemed to confuse the very young, but the parents seemed thankful. As it got later, the goblins became progressively older. The neighbors had advised me to expect 40 to 50 kids, but I was on my third roll of quarters, which at 40 per roll, far exceeded the projected number I had anticipated.
I then began to realize that a lot of these kids were wearing the same costumes.

The realization that I was being “had” arrived at the same time the doorbell sounded again. I looked at the group at the door, which now consisted of eight or more, and said, “You guys are only entitled to one quarter a night, and I’ve seen you all at least once before.”

Older and wiser, both achieved in one evening at home. I unplugged the pumpkin, turned off the porch light, got a beer and watched TV.

(Edward Forbes wants to hear from you. Email him at eforbes1946@gmail.com or send comments by snail mail to The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton TX. 77516.)