>We’ve lived in our house in the woods for 10 years this week. Although we are located in a neighborhood and halfway between downtown and a busy commercial area along the city’s north side, only our house and the one across the street are on this block. Our immediate neighbors’ properties are accessed from other streets. The woods, from April through November, mask the house that sits up the hill, though not far back from the road. Because the street curves as it wends down the street to the heavily traveled road on the south side of our home, it is easy to miss the driveway. It is the kind of house that most don’t even know is there.
November 1, 1998, the former owner stopped by to pick up some misdirected mail. My wife was upset that I didn’t call you to tell you not to buy candy. In 27 years, we never had any trick-or-treaters unless they were friends of my sons.
I was out in the neighborhood with my son I said. I figured nobody would come this far down the street.
There were 5 last night, my husband interrupted. They came at one time, despite the fact that I had turned off the lights. They weren’t happy that they climbed the hill to not get any candy.
I winced thinking how disappointed those children must have been.
In the ensuing years, we haven’t had any Halloween visitors, though frequently I have put a few pieces of candy leftover from the kids’ Halloween event at my office in my purse so I wouldn’t be caught empty-handed. Last night, around 7:15, I heard a car in the driveway. A few minutes later, the doorbell rang. I knew that my son was heading into town and I hadn’t unlocked the door.
Instead of finding my son standing on the back porch, I was startled to see 3 young girls: a witch, a skeleton, and some figure that I am too removed from the pop culture of 8 years old kids to understand. There they stood with eager smiles and open sacks, excitedly chanting ‘Trick or Treat’. I had no candy.
I never have trick-or-treaters stop here, I said, but wait a minute. Don’t leave. I shut the door and headed into the other room to find my change jar, hoping that they weren’t the first of many, perhaps leaving some hobo-like sign on the mailbox that was secret code for ‘Knock on this lady’s door. It’s worth the hike up the hill’.
Back to the door I went with 12 quarters. I don’t have any candy, but I’m giving you each a dollar. It’s in coins, so don’t let it fall out of your bags, I said.
Thank you, ma’am, they said, as they turned to run to their mother’s waiting car.
Mama, the lady gave me a whole dollar! the little one exclaimed.
Better than candy! the skeleton cried.
They said I had to drive up the scary driveway no matter how long, their mother laughed.
Have fun! I told the girls.
Better than candy. Better than 10 years of trick-or-treaters.