Ghosts Of Halloweens Past

By: Tim-Knox


Last night, my oldest daughter and I spent a happy hour of quality time sitting on the floor of a cold garage, carving goofy faces on lopsided pumpkins. Actually, I did the carving while she played "Greasy Spoon Waitress From Hell!" with the pumpkin's innards. Guts, she called them.

"Your order is ready, sir," she said with a sneer. She piled a big blob of stringy, orange mush on top of an old Frisbee and waved it beneath my nose. "Would you like fries with that? Some bloody ketchup, perhaps?"

That's my girl. She may be a greasy spoon waitress from hell, but she's an efficient, greasy spoon waitress from hell.

As we sat there, the miniature Bette Davis and I, my mind wandered back to the Halloweens of my own youth. The wearing of costumes, the unabashed begging for goodies, the bloodcurdling screams in the dark, a door being slammed in my face - wait a minute, that wasn't a Halloween memory. That was my honeymoon! Let's back up and start again.

I literally grew up in the Alabama backwoods (directions: go to the middle of nowhere and turn left), where the houses were two, three miles apart. Even on a good night you could only make it to five or six houses before your costume got scratchy, so this is what we'd do. My little brother and I would put on our homemade costumes, climb into my dad's old pickup and drive to town to trick or treat. Destination: the ritziest neighborhood we could find because they handed out the best candy.

My dad, who was a stern but fair man, had but one rule when it came to trick or treating: "One street, one hour, I get half."

He'd boot us out at the end of the street and off we'd go, up one side and down the other. Then we'd pull off our masks and go up and down the same street again. Then we'd swap masks and give it another go. On a good night we'd end up dragging our pillowcases back to the truck like sacks of cotton. And my dad would be waiting. And hungry.

Most people would have been mentally scarred by my dad's rules and regulations. Child abuse, it would be called today. But I thought it was a brilliant way to trick or treat. Given an ample supply of masks and empty pillowcases, the sky was the limit!

Halloween's changed considerably since I was a kid. I'm afraid to let my kids out of the house alone on a normal day, much less on Halloween night, when the meanness just seems to come out of people. But trick or treating they will go! They'll dress up in their cute little costumes and my wife will make them pose for pictures until the film (and my patience) is at its absolute end. Then I'll grab a flashlight and struggle to keep up as they run from house to house with total disregard for the neighbors' lawns and shrubs. And God help any small animals that get in their way.

They'll trick or treat until their decorated pillowcases are overflowing, at which time they'll give them to me to carry because they're too tired from all that running. Their masks will become "too hot to wear" so they'll give those to me, too, and I'll hang them off my ample ears. Then their costumes will become "itchy," so off they come, only to be draped around my neck like the parental coatrack that I am.

By the time we get back to the house I'll look like Willy Wonka's gay packmule. And I'll love every minute of it because it's Halloween.

And like my daddy said, I get half.

Happy Halloween!

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From "Small Business Q&A" With Tim Knox Tim Knox is a nationally-known entrepreneur, author, speaker, and radio show host. Tim has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs realize their business dreams. To learn more please visit www.timknox.com

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