A Halloween story

My nice, normal house in a nice, normal neighborhood.
When I was a kid I LOVED Halloween.  Dressing up in costumes and trick-or-treating.  Me and my friends would spend hours hitting every house in town.  And we’d come back with sacks full of candy so big we could barely carry it.  Then the ritual of dumping all the loot out on my bed and organizing all the treats into piles (prime candy bars like Snickers, Chunkies and Mr. Goodbars in one pile; crap like apples and raisons in another).

So as I grew into adulthood, and grew too old to trick-or-treat, I mourned the loss of trick-or-treating in my life.  Every Halloween it felt like something was missing.  Like getting no presents for Christmas, or being sober on New Years Eve, or no fireworks on Fourth of July.  I couldn’t even celebrate the holiday vicariously.  Because I had no children of my own. And, as a street person, I mostly lived in the kind of neighborhoods where, if somebody knocked on your door at night wearing a mask, the first thing you did was make sure the chain lock on your front door was double-bolted, and then you looked around to make sure you had a weapon handy.

So I was thrilled, two years ago in 2013, when, for the first time in my adult life, I was actually living in a nice normal house, in a nice normal neighborhood, surround by nice normal families.  And on Halloween my block was full of an army of little kids, trooping back and forth in their cool costumes, trick-or-treating.

So I bought a big bag of candy (Snickers, natch).  Turned on every light in my house.  And opened the shades on every window.  To let everyone know I was open for business.  And I waited there in my nice normal house with bated breath for the first trick-or-treaters to show up.

Image result for snickers bite size
To the victor goes the spoils!!
It wasn’t long before the doorbell rang.  It was a mother with her little boy, maybe 5, dressed in a Spiderman costume.  And her little girl, even younger, dressed as an angel.  Just adorable.  “TRICK OR TREAT!!”

I gave them some candy.  And then I waited for the next trick-or-treaters to show up.  But as I waited there in my nice normal house, I started to get more and more this weird feeling.  This paranoid and vulnerable feeling.  Bordering on panic. I realized:  After all the years of living on the streets as a homeless street person . . . Where you go to great lengths to conceal your crash spots . . . And every intruder is considered as a potential threat . . . I just couldn’t get comfortable with the idea of strangers approaching my house.  Even if they were just little kids dressed up as Spiderman and angels.  My street instincts were just too engrained.  This reflexive paranoia.  Which was sad.  I guess you can take a person out of the streets, but you can’t take the streets out of the person.

So I turned off all the lights in my nice normal house.  Pulled down all the shades on the windows.  And I hid here in the darkness for the rest of  Halloween night.  Until it was finally over.

But I always regretted that move.  I blew my one and only chance to re-experience the joys of trick-or-treating.

Oh well.  But at least there was one consolation.  I got to eat the whole bag of Snickers candy bars by myself.  HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!



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