This is how it is in our central Phoenix neighborhood on Halloween. About 6 o’clock our normally quiet street becomes congested with traffic. Vehicles with headlights glowing mosey into a parking spot. A door opens and like a dream out pops pirates, princesses, vampires, skeletons and other creatures of this singular night. This goes on steadily for two hours or more.
For us, it is a mobile fright night. Most of our visitors come from afar. From Los Angeles for all I know. They are largely Hispanic with a much smaller number of Caucasians and blacks. Though Nebra and I live in a mixed middle-class neighborhood, there is only a small percentage of children.
This year, we handed treats out to 273 visitors. While I was out hunting for our supper, at Thai Rama, Nebra ran out of treats at 7:39, or in about 1 hour, 40 minutes. It was intense. Nebra said she looked out the front door at one point and saw a line practically out to the front curb, 40 visitors patiently waiting with sacks in hand.
The scaring business must be good. A new trend noted this year is that many of the kids are using backpacks to store their booty. One had a pack strapped to his back and turned around so a treat could be dropped in. Yes, and one or two took a look at the treats and said, “Do you have something else?”
I heard an interview with the Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald that after yesterday’s game here with Tampa Bay, he was taking his son to Chandler for Halloween because they live in a gated community. Slim pickings, I guess, in places llke that. He is welcome here in our neighborhood but I don’t think it is a good place for prima donnas. He and his son would have to stand in line like everyone else.
Most of these kids, especially the young girls, perhaps the ones 5 to 8 years old, were dressed spectacularly. It must’ve taken hours to get dressed and put on all the makeup. Nebra took special note of a Princess Leia decked out in pigtails, a white robe and gold shoes.
And what’s more they were polite. Or mostly so. Many saying, “Thank you” after securing their treat. And there was virtually no trash in our yard, although I did see a dead lollypop and a candy wrapper in front of someone else’s house.
I am very scientific, almost Einsteinal in my approach, and my records go back to the first year we lived at this address which was 1995. We had 179 that year, way below the average of 235.9. Our record turnout was 441 in 2005, a Monday, no known reason. Our low by far was 95 and quite understandable. It was 2001, several weeks after 9/11. We missed a year, in 2007, when we were visiting South Carolina.
Next Halloween I hope to be better prepared. Buy more treats. Maybe even get out the ol’ camera.