When a stranger calls...
Fade in. Exterior. Early summer evening. Four small humans approach an old wooden door. They are dressed in an assortment of Halloween costumes and clutch small plastic pumpkin shaped buckets. They jostle a little for position before a fairy, who is clearly the alpha-dog in this group plunges forward and delivers an imperious sounding knock to the door.
They wait. One of them picks his nose but when asked later will claim that he was scratching the outside only.
A dark figure can be seen through the frosted glass panels in the door. The door opens...
Before the children is a middle aged woman in a cocktail dress and silver T-bar heels. And has a smile that invites suspicion.
Woman: Hello. Who do we have here?
Alpha-dog: I'm a fairy.
A small girl clad in black tights and orange nylon, pipes up.
Beta-dog: And I'm a pumpkin.
Woman: And what's going on with you, young man?
She gestures to a boy of 8 or 9 with tousled hair, a talcum powdery complexion and strokes of Revlon Red applied haphazardly to his mouth.
Pale boy: I'm a zombie!
Woman: Oh, how disappointing. I thought you were Robert Smith. I was going to ask you to do "Friday I'm in love".
The boy adopts a confused expression, which makes him look even more like Robert Smith and less like a zombie.
Woman: And what about you? You've only got a cape on over your normal clothes. That's not much of a costume...
Cape boy: I'm a magician who's fallen on hard times. I had to sell my wand and my top hat, and my assistant has left me for a quantity surveyor. So now all I have is my cape and to make ends meet I've turned my skills with magic towards a career in burglary. I am now "casing" your home.
The boy says this last sentence while flicking his eyes to the windows before checking the door for visible evidence of a deadlock. There is one. He sinks back, dejected.
Woman: I like you, kid. I might even give you some enamel-destroying confection for the back-story alone...
The other 3 children perk their ears up and put on their brightest smiles. Robert Smith/Zombie child is definitely leaning more towards the Zombie end of the spectrum now.
Woman: Nope. Just kidding. You're going to have to earn your treats by playing "Who wants to be obese and toothless?". Tell the kids how it works, voiceover guy...
From seemingly nowhere a man in a suit slides into view from the left of the doorframe. His hair is greying and has 2/3 too much hair product in it.
Voiceover guy: Well kids, you can win items of nutritionally deficient confectionary simply by answering a few Halloween-related questions.
The children stand around looking worried but have no time to respond as the lady of the house has pulled a number of flashcards out of her cleavage and starts reading from them.
Woman: Contestant number one, what is the origin of the word "Halloween".
Alpha-dog: Um. It's when ghosts come out and people get to dress scary. Or if they are ladies, they show their boobies off.
Alpha-dog-fairy, who can already tell she's not getting her pick of the Favourites selection at this house eyes up the aforementioned cleavage on the hostess and gives her an arch look that belies her 7 years.
Woman: Weh-wahhh. That's incorrect. Although you have summed up the Halloween "fashion story" rather well, what I wanted was some kind of etymology of the word.
She continues, reading from the card.
Woman: Halloween is a contracted form of "all hallow's evening", a reference to the 1st of November being All Saints Day. Next question.
She turns to Beta-pumpkin.
Woman: Why are you dressed like a pumpkin?
Beta-dog: Because of jack o lanterns?
Beta-dog: Because they're scary?
Woman: I'm sorry, that's not really what we're looking for. In the US pumpkins were traditionally carved in Autumn during harvest time and didn't necessarily have much to do with Halloween, but as both occur at the same time of the year they've become associated with each other.
Beta-dog: So, pumpkins aren't scary?
Woman: Do you think pumpkins are scary?
Woman: Fair enough. I've never been that keen on clowns, myself. Now young Rob Zombie...what is the name of the pagan festival that might be where the modern Halloween tradition comes from?
Pale boy: Sam something. Sam...
Pale boy: Sam Gamgee!
Woman: Close! Sort of. It's Samhain. It's Celtic though, not Hobbit. You can have this delicious "vintage" twinkie or you can move onto the next round.
Voiceover Guy: That's right, my pasty friend, in the speed round you'll have the opportunity to win a family trip for four to Majorca and a cuddly toy, but answer wisely because every wrong answer will result in a penalty. Every penalty means you'll have to forfeit one piece of chocolate deliciousness to your hosts!
Pale boy: Mummy, what's a Majorca?
Pan up to see that a responsible adult in the form of a "sexy" bodybag has turned up.
Sexy bodybag: Expensive pottery, dear. I saw it on Antiques Roadshow. Er, what's all this about?
Woman: Oh nothing, nothing. Darling children. So cute. Look at their little... um... knees..?
Voiceover Guy: Anyway, sorry guys. Turns out our vicious rottweiler...
Voiceover Guy gives a pointed look to the caped purloiner.
Voiceover Guy:...licked all the chocolates and then put them back in the box. What a jerk, eh?
Woman: Yeah, bummer. Still, nice evening for it, isn't it? Have a good one.
The door slams shut and there is barely audible whispering from behind it.
Alpha-dog: Those people were weird.
Sexy bodybag: Well, they're probably Scientologists or something and don't believe in Halloween. Let's just put it behind us and hope the next people are Presbyterians.
The children and their chaperone turn and leave but not before a maniacal cackle (interrupted by an equally maniacal snort) issues from inside the house.
This is kind of my fantasy of what Halloween night would be like at my house. Basically I'd get to dress up and taunt young children. If it weren't for 3 things I'm fairly certain that this is how it would have played out. First, we went out for dinner so weren't home. Second, I don't think there are that many school age kids in our immediate area (if there are, they're very quiet). Third, I have far too much in the way of manners to ever do anything as mental as this. Though I do like the idea of quizzing the children and demanding items from their haul if they get the answers wrong. Make them work for it, I say.
Also, if I could wear makeup that looks like the picture at the left rather than it being the result of using a cool online photo editing tool, that might also feature.
How did your Halloween night go? Any trick or treaters round your place?
What I look like after a bad night's sleep