Eat, drink and be scary


When I thought up the title for today’s post, I thought I was being quite clever.  But I was shopping in Wal-Mart for more Halloween stuff and I noticed napkins, plates, etc. with the exact same phrase.  I guess I can always use another reminder that I’m not quite as witty as I think.

Continuing Halloween week here on the JMD blog, where my usual overconfidence in my ability to accomplish more than is reasonable in one week has interefered with my daily blogging.  You would think I would learn from the fact that I get “behind” like this every year.  You would think.

The primary reason I get backed up this time of year is that in addition to extensive decorating of the outside of the house and in addition to extensive buying and assembling goody bags for 120 kids, I also throw an annual Halloween BBQ.

Regular readers are aware I don’t know how to throw an “easy” BBQ.  While other people might get away with some burgers, dogs, beer and soda, that’s just not me.  I have to do at least three racks of ribs, sausages, burgers, dogs, chicken (for the non beef or pork eaters), veggie and cheese plates (for the non meat eaters) and home cooked sides like macaroni and cheese (7 cheeses!) and baked beans (slow cooked all day!).

I’m okay with the whole thing.  Sure I panic before everyone arrives and pass out when everyone leaves, but I’ve never had a bad review, so I probably get enough right that most everyone shows up at the next one.

Halloween BBQs are a little different, of course.  Most of the time, Halloween is not falling on a weekend, so the BBQ doesn’t take place on Halloween exactly.  That’s ok, since the purpose is for everyone to relax (except me) and have a good time (including me).

No one dresses up in costume, except when the BBQ is actually on Halloween and there are kids along for the eats before heading out to trick or treat.  The reason for no costumes is two-fold.  First, BBQ just doesn’t mix well with makeup or decorative clothing.  The second reason has to do with a time one of my friends actually did come in a costume…of a sort.

That year, one of my friends arrived wearing a bathrobe over his regular clothes and wearing a “Father Time” mask (the basic 100-year old man, white hair & beard rubber mask) .  Halloween fell on a weekend that year and he and his wife were some of the last people to stay.

The door knocks and bellows of “trick or treat” started coming and I went down my hallway to open the door, size up the rough age and gender of the kids and hand out appropriate goody bags.  My friend would pop out from my side room and bellow at the kids, giving everyone either a good fright or a good laugh.

My friend was having such a good time he stayed around longer than usual and there came a light rapping at the door and a barely audible squeak of “trick or treat”.  He hid in “his” room as I opened the door to gaze upon a little fairy princess, probably around six, with wand and tiara.

I moved to grab a little girl goody bag near the door to the room where my friend was hiding, hoping to warn to stay inside when out he popped with a roar.  The little girl squeaked, dropped her candy bag and ran to the edge of my driveway where her Mom was waiting.

My friend instantly remoed his mask, but the damage was done.  I picked up the dropped bag and walked out with one of my own to give to the little girl.  She wouldn’t let go of her Mom, who was actually laughing.  I went to a knee in front of the princess and apologized, trying to show her the fun things in her bag, but she just looked at me with big, unblinking eyes.

Her Mom said not to worry, that she understood and then complimented me on my house.  She said her son had been by earlier and told her to come.  I thanked her and headed back to the house.  As I was closing the door, I heard a tiny “thank you” from the edge of the driveway.  Apparently her Mom had finally gotten her to look in my goody bag and her previous fear was diminishing in her excitement.

While I guess that meant all’s well that ends well, my friend decided (and I concurred) that we wouldn’t do any more surprise scares on kids.  Nor have there been any further “scare tactics” since.

If I had a garage, I would definitely set up a haunted display, but parents would know that in advance and be able to protect any vulnerable fairy princesses.  For now, the only thing scary about my Halloween BBQs is how much everyone’s cholesterol goes up after all that beef, pork and cheese!

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