H is for Halloween Hijinks: Teen Version. Eighth of 26 posts in the April 2021 Blogging From #AtoZChallenge. Theme: “Endwell: My Early Teen Years”— adding my story to the family history mix. Please join me on the journey.
When I wrote about my elementary years in Endwell, N.Y., I described Halloween Mayhem — when the 50-odd kids on my street tormented the adults with endless bell ringing and window soaping in the weeks before Halloween.
By the time I reached my teens, though, the mayhem was more subdued as many of us were now adolescents and beyond such Halloween hijinks. Instead, we concentrated on a new kind of teen fun —getting our costumes together, then devising a street-by-street plan to maximize our candy haul.
Grounded for going down to the creek
Yet the best Halloween ever during my teens was the year my parents grounded me and I couldn’t go trick-or-treating at all. The reason: I had gone down to the creek at the end of our block after school and was hanging around (innocently, I might add) with some of my neighborhood girlfriends’ older brothers.
To compound my crime, Mom may have expressly told me “don’t go down to the creek after school” — practically an engraved invitation to do just that.
I might have gotten away with it, too — if, when she called down from the street above, I had sneaked home the back way and appeared magically in our back yard. But I lacked street smarts then, so I foolishly yelled back, “Yes?” And that was it, Mom was hopping mad.
My punishment: No Halloween!
There were some hot words exchanged — followed by a sentencing meeting when Dad got home from work. The punishment: I could not go trick-or-treating on Halloween AND I would have to stay at the house and dole out candy when the kids rang the bell.
Ugh, what a humiliation! Still, what could I do? So I decided to stoically make the best of it and act like this was absolutely no big deal — even though I was privately green with envy at missing the Halloween fun with my teen friends.
Halloween night arrives
When Halloween night arrived, I took up my post in the living room by the big dish of candy. When the doorbell rang, I’d let the little kids in, try to guess who they were — then plop candy in each of their bags before doing it all over again with the next batch of youngsters.It didn’t help that the kids on the block, unaware of my grounding, kept asking, “What are you doing home? How come you’re not out trick or treating?” How embarrassing!
Still, everything went smoothly until a tall kid, dressed as a ghost with a sheet over his head, rang the bell and came in alone. I figured it was one of the older brothers — so I guessed one name, then another. But the ghost just stood there silently.
A silent and scary ghost
“Who are you?” I demanded finally, getting a little nervous. The ghost did not reply. Mom was escorting my younger siblings on their Halloween rounds — so it was just me at home with Dad, who was in shower. So I inched around the corner and banged on the bathroom door.
”Dad, can you come out? There’s a big kid here and he won’t say who he is,” I yelled through the door. Any disturbance in his routine could set my Dad off — and interrupting his shower was enough to do it. To top it off, all he had in there with him was a towel.
Pretty soon the door opened, and out stomped my unhappy dad. His hair wet and a towel around his hips, he confronted the ghost.
”You tell us who you are right now or get out of this house!” he bellowed. I looked over at the ghost and saw the sheet was shaking — then the ghost started laughing.
“Tell us who you are right this minute!” Dad yelled, but the ghost just laughed harder. Finally, the ghost pulled off his sheet, and it was Porch Sitting Dad from up the street — the one who sat out front to keep us from soaping his windows during Halloween Mayhem.
That year, Porch Dad apparently decided to create some mayhem of his own by fake trick-or-treating. But my dad was not amused.
Best Halloween ever
”What the hell is wrong with you?” Dad bellowed, when he saw who it was. But Porch Dad laughed even harder — and pretty soon my dad was laughing, too. And so was I.
Here I was, supposedly on punishment. But the sight of Dad dripping wet in his towel trying to unmask an “intruder” — who turned out to be his practical-joking neighbor — was too funny for words.
What a story this would make when I got to tell it! And to think, I might have missed it all if I hadn’t been grounded!
Like I said, best Halloween ever.
Up next, IBM Country Club and the great divide. Please leave a comment, then join me as Endwell: My Early Teen Years unfolds one letter at a time!
© 2021 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.