It is late afternoon and I am sitting down by a table on the patio at the corner Starbucks. I am waiting here for the yearly attack of 300-400 Halloweeners at our front door, drinking a cup of regular coffee and trying to brace myself for the onslaught.
The coffee shop here at the corner of 7th Ave and McDowell is a mini-staging area for the night’s festivities. At a nearby table, a heavy teen-age girl dressed as a black cat with whiskers waits for the darkness. She holds a large sack which no doubt will be full of candy and other treats by 9 o’clock when it all ends. Three boys wrestle around on the grass with their wigs and exaggerated pants and coats.
At about 10 after 5, I head home, ambling through our usually quiet neighborhood. I watch a middle-age couple fuss over their Halloween decorations. They are blowing up a balloon archway. Behind it is a series of electrified pumpkins and other stuff. They are too busy to say hello as I pass. About one-third of the houses have gussied up for the night, some with elaborate cobwebs. One house has a giant black spider on the front porch. It is fake of course. I did not stop to peek at his belly for the fatal red spot that would ID a black widow.
Back at the house I prepare for a 5:45 start. That’s when I plan to turn on the front light, though it is not quite dark, and open the front door. I have no fear of a chill. The temp is 77 F. on a clear evening during a period of extra warm desert days. The high was 85 today. I lay out my notebook to count the number of visitors, check the bowl of candy and the three auxiliary bags. I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.
Uh-oh. Actually I’m beaten to the punch, two minutes early. I hear a scratch, scratch on the front screen at 5:43 and open the door to see, ah, Plastic Man, a very small edition anyhow. “Trick or treat,” the Plastic Man says. It’s started.
Later . . . .
We closed down at 8 o’clock. Out of treats after 381 visitors. It was our third highest total in the 15 years we’ve kept count. It started slowly tonight and built up in the last hour and a half.
About 15 minutes later, with lights out, door shut, we heard a knock. It was a cute little Hispanic girl, maybe 4 years old, with an adult woman. It made me feel sad, but I had say, “I’m sorry, we’re out of candy. Come back next year, but come back earlier though. “