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Location: Los Angeles, CA

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Ghosts of Halloween Past

One sucky thing about teaching on Halloween night is that you miss all of the cute little five year olds who aren't quite sure why they're trekking around in Annakin Skywalker outfits except that a whole bunch of normally unseen neighbors keep giving them pieces of wrapped candy.

And they NEVER get that during the rest of the year.

All they have to do is yell "TRICKORTREAT!!" at the top of their lungs and shove a bag out in front of them.

The number of trick or treaters coming by our house has been declining in recent years. There is a small wave at about five o'clock -- small kids with parents who hang back on the front sidewalk while their kids stagger up to our front door, plastic pumpkins dangling from their arms. They do the ceremonial TRICKORTREAT (does anyone ever say "I'll take the trick"?), and then wait while we drop some candy or razor blades (oops, wait, I did NOT say that!!) into their receptacles. They then proceed to run back to their parents who are yelling "Say 'thank you!!'"

They sometimes do.

About two hours later, a few older kids slouch through the neighborhood and a few of them even have some good costumes.

About 10:00pm, a new wave comes through the neighborhood -- the kids of a lot of the Latina nannies in the neighborhood who, I assume, have just finished watching their charges while the parents are out drinking cider, bobbing for apples, and shooting heroin. Their treat bags and costumes have the homemade look to them, rather than the patina of something bought the week before at the local Santa Monica costume shop. The kids aren't much different than the white kids -- they still yell TRICKORTREAT and then have to be reminded to say thanks.

And then it's all over.

This year, I taught on Halloween evening. One student wore a costume and she admitted that the wings that she had wanted to bring were too big to schlep from the car.

it's just not the same.