Happy Hallowe’en (or else)

I remember the Hallowe’en of my childhood when most people remembered that it’s a contraction for hallowed evening and left the apostrophe where it belongs. Kids, except for the very youngest, went around the neighborhood alone or in groups rather than going from street to street in a parent’s car (that would creep along while the kids rang doorbells). I remember when Hallowe’en was always celebrated on the 31st rather than being moved by law or proclamation by the city council to the nearest weekend day. And, I remember when a lot of kids saw it as a night to go out trickin’, which meant throwing eggs, tossing toilet paper up in the trees and messing up windows and screen by drawing on them with bars of soap.

I suppose when you’re my age (you’ll know it when you get there), you’ll remember Hallowe’en as it is now instead of what it will probably turn into: banned or structured into Hallowe’en walks through selected parts of the town. It’s sad, I guess that progress has been forced to focus more and more on the predators that appear on the streets every year. Hell, you can go to jail if you allow your kid to walk or ride a bike to school.

When I was a kid, we’d have a hundred or maybe a hundred and fifty trick-or-treaters a night–often more. When we lived in a small town on the other side of Georgia, we were surprised if we had fifty–that, in spite of the pickup trucks bring in kids from neighborhoods far away. Now we live on a rural road and haven’t seen a trick-or-treater for five years.

When I was a kid, I thought Hallowe’en was fun. I suppose it was the candy and, to some extent, the costumes. As I got older, I hated it because I had better things to do than jump up from whatever I was doing every five to ten minutes to answer the doorbell and hand out candy. But, that was only fair since I rang a lot of doorbells and disrupted the evenings of a lot of adults when I was little.

I liked the little kids best since they were shy or joyful. I disliked the teenagers who thought they were entitled to all the candy in my basket and to hell with whoever came to my door after they left. I was proud of the African American and Korean [Korean is Georgia’s second language] parents who were brave enough to bring their children to a predominantly white neighborhood. I tended to be somewhat cranky with people who thought it was okay to ring my doorbell after 10 p.m.

And that reminds me, why is it now a standard to remove the periods from the “p. m.”? More lazy English, I think. But I refuse to change. I’m going to keep putting those periods there for the same reason I keep putting the hyphen in co-operation. (That hyphen had a purpose: it told you that “coop” wasn’t pronounced like a chicken coop but as two syllables.)

But, I digress.





We’re Throwing Eggs at Dads Again This Year

Guest Post by Trick Falls

With Halloween approaching faster than a bat out of hell, my brother Pratt, my sister Niagara and I are making plans once again to gas up Dad’s old Packard for our yearly pilgrimage to One Egg, Alabama for some hard fried trick or treat fun.

Throwing Eggs at Dads began in 1957 when three fresh-face graduates from reform school (my siblings and I) borrowed Dad’s two-tone baby blue and white 1956 Packard Clipper Touring Sedan for some Halloween fun. Fifteen or twenty large sacks of Candy Corn later, we ended up in Alabama’s Houston County with a trunk load of Piggly Wiggly eggs.

Niagara, who was wearing an itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini, discovered that 98.6% of the Dads walking their kids around the small town of One Egg were more interested in her tricks than their children’s treats. Just when things were getting really interesting, Pratt and I would hit the poor slobs with a barrage of jumbo eggs.

In the resulting chaos, the kids dropped their candy, we scooped it up and roared off down the road.

The dads, most of whom were in the serious business of growing cotton, corn and peanuts along the road to Cottonwood, had never been egged on by a pretty girl before, so as the years went by, they began looking forward to the “sweet lady who tempts us to take an egg shower.”

It stood to reason, something like this would ultimately happen in One Egg because the town was founded in 1942 by Norfolk Grey after he was run out of Two Egg, Florida for “being a bad egg” and smelling like sulfur when he passed gas in the general store.

Niagara was so popular with the One Egg dads that she began to get innocently provocative pen pal letters from them stating that a Halloween without Niagara was like a fried egg sandwich without mayo.

Pratt, who was disgusted with the idea of stealing kids candy after he got fat in the early 1960s wanted to quit making the trips. Fortunately, we had enough blackmail material to keep him driving that Packard up and down highway 53 year after year after year.

Early on, Niagara’s fame down in Houston County was such that her bikini inspired a song that reached the top of the charts. Today, as the nation’s number two Viagra salesman, Niagara dangles the bottom half of that old bathing suit from her rear view mirror to bring her good luck. Most of the prospective customers who meet her at Waffle Houses and truck stops across the country don’t mind getting a little egg on their face while buying their meds.

This year, our custom bumper sticker for the Clipper will say, “Scrambling Dads for Sweets.” Pratt designed it and, truth be told, he’s very proud of his work.

As for yours truly, I’ll be the driver again on this year’s caper since my trick knee causes me to fall whenever I try to run away from anything. Sure, we’re almost too old for this kind of stunt, but the now-grown-up children of the dads we egged on in those days of yesteryear would never forgive us if we didn’t trick them again while shouting, “The Yolk’s On You, Sugar Daddy.”

Trick Falls is one of the secret pen names of the author of “Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire,” a satire in which an ass-kicking reporter finds humorous ways to insure his town’s corrupt politicians always have egg on their faces.