Eric Mayer

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Halloween evening. We've had no trick-or-treaters nor will we, up here on the side of the mountain. That hasn't been the case in the past. At one house we'd get a hundred or more costumed beggars.

Since I always loved roaming the dark streets in search of treats when I was growing up I made sure to have plenty of candy on hand. Initially we carefully prepared small plastic bags with an assortment of candies. Little did I realize what we were in for.

Once the doorbell started ringing it didn't stop. They arrived as witches, ghouls, Ninja Turtles, skeletons, ghosts. You name it. Every sort of supernatural creature and current television character imaginable. (Does this mean that television is today's mythology?) They might as well have been dressed like giant locusts.

As the treats dwindled at an alarming rate we started rationing, making two bags out of each we had left and when that tactic failed handing out individual candies.

Kids from far outside the neighborhood piled out of cars parked at the curb. Adults in mufti showed up, collecting for their unfortunately sick children. Yes, all eight of their kids were home sick, which was why they had brought such a large canvas bag for their treats. Gangs of little darlings amazingly disguised as six-foot tall teenaged hoodlums glared menacingly. How cute! Here's a Snickers or perhaps you'd prefer a portable television set or my wallet.

After that we learned to keep a bowl of miniature tootsie rolls for those over the age limit or not in the spirit of things. Too bad they don't sell signs for the front yard: "You must be shorter than this mark to trick-or-treat at this house." The fancy bags were reserved for the pixies and pirates that came up to our waists. You could practically see their eyes sparkling with excitement behind the masks.

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