Wednesday, November 01, 2006

My Worst Halloween Ever!

My most memorable Halloween is my worst one. I was 9 or 10 years old stationed with my family on Karamursel Air Base in the country of Turkey. I forget what I dressed up as that year, but I remember it involved some silly plastic mask that was uncomfortable to wear, particularly while trying to navigate in the dark.

I went out with a group of three brothers; their parents were close friends with my parents. They were some pretty wild kids, but my folks didn’t know that and I found myself hard-pressed to keep up with these raucous guys, mostly because they were older and stronger. Only one was my age, the other two were older. I suppose my folks thought it would be safer to go out with some older boys, but that isn’t always the case I’ve found. Still, I was thrilled at our fast pace, because after an hour my trick-or-treat bag was filled with more candy than I ever dreamed possible.

After two hours I was beat, but I loved the idea of continuing to add to my tasty treasure trove, so I gamely pushed on. I wasn’t about to ask those rambunctious fellows to quit and take me home when there was still time left on the curfew, and with so many more houses left to hit. In short order, we had milked all the homes in the first section of the base near where we started from. For the first half-hour we hadn’t even walked, we ran from house to house. My bag was already filled with several pounds of sweet stuff, but I wanted even more.

I kept up the pace with my rowdy companions and thought it a great idea, theirs of course, to catch the shuttle bus to the other side of the base to hit up even more houses. It felt great to get off my feet for the 10 minutes it took to take us to officer’s country. We were sure there would be an even better selection of goodies over there where all the high-falutin’ folks lived.

Rejuvenated, my cohorts and I bounded off the bus and attacked. We went up and down a few streets in the new area and soon I really began to have a hard time keeping up. My bag was almost filled to the top and so heavy that I could hardly pick it up, much less carry it effectively. Indeed, it began to drag a bit on the ground as I struggled with its bulk. Even so, I loved the heft, knowing that I was making the score of my life that night.

With just a half-hour left till the scheduled completion of that night’s trick-or-treating, a time put in place by the base commander and strictly enforced by the Air Police, or apes, as we used to call them, I figured I must be getting my second wind, because the bag seemed much less of a burden than before. As the time ticked down to the last few minutes we sprinted from house to house. My bag was hardly a thought anymore as I did my best to keep my partners in sight.

Time was up, and within minutes every house light was off and all doors closed. What the base commander ordered, the base commander got, and at that point it was just fine by me. I sagged with exhaustion. It was a chilly night, but I was soaked with sweat and breathing hard from the night’s efforts. The group of us dragged ourselves slowly towards the nearest bus stop. I was bushed and no longer paid any attention to my Halloween bag, other than to drag it along beside me. I was more concerned with keeping up. Pushing my sweaty mask up to the top of my head, I finally just took it off all together, throwing it into my bag.

As we waited in a cluster of other kids and a few parents at one of the many shuttle stops, we chattered excitedly about all the different selections of candy we had collected that night. Some of the boys delved into their bags and began sampling. I decided I wanted some bubble gum and picked up my bag to search for a plug. Immediately, I felt sick in the pit of my stomach. Something was not right!

I picked up my brown paper shopping bag, held it open by its two handles made of twine, and peered into it using the dim light from an overhead street lamp. I couldn’t believe it. My bag was almost completely empty! During the last few minutes of my greedy attempt to fill it to the brim, I had dragged a hole into a bottom corner. The whole night was a bust. After more than three hours of trick-or-treating I ended up with a grand total of a half-dozen pieces of candy. I was too embarrassed even to tell anyone, and just trudged along with the brothers back to their house where my mom waited to pick me up.

I’m sure it’s obvious what the moral of this story is, so I won’t belabor it, but it has something to do with greed, haste, and waste.

Like I said, it was my WORST Halloween ever!


Ed said...

Since I was a farm kid living in very rural America, I never ended up with more than a dozen or so pieces of candy. The good side of it was that because there were so few trick-or-treaters, we always were given the full size stuff and never the minis that everyone hands out these days.

Anonymous said...

Oh, that's too bad. You must be very disappointed. When I go trick-or-treating with the kids, I always carry an extra bag where they can unload some of their treats when their bags get heavy. I thought the moral of the story is don't use a paper bag. :)

PhilippinesPhil said...

Nice, kids were not much "mother henned" back when I grew up in the 60s. Even when I was much much younger my parents didn't supervise me a lot. I had free reign over my comings and goings from the time I was 4 or 5, although I had to be in bed by 8. It was great. I can't imagine having my parents following me around when I was a trick-or-treating, ever! I guess times were different back then. I definitely did not have a "soccer mom" and I'm glad of it.