Tricks But No Treats

As I walk briskly (  debatable as it might be) through the neighborhood this Thursday morning, I can’t help but notice the homes decked out with scarecrows, corn stalks and pumpkins. The decorations and the chill in the air are a reminder that Halloween is at hand. The garbage barrels at the end of the driveway of each home is a further reminder of Halloween - at least to me. Today is garbage day. Garbage day in October  meant only one thing in my youth, tricks! Tricks not treats.

As I stepped up my pace and got my heart beat up, the Halloween of yesterday came vividly into mind. During my youth we paid no attention to treats - there weren’t any. A knock at the door or ringing a house bell, was meant to annoy the resident, not to beg for treats. Garbage Day, celebrated about two weeks prior to Halloween, meant that during the evening , if the barrels were foolishly put out, we could run up and down the street tipping them over.

The most fun was saved for Ash Day and I don’t mean Ash Wednesday. In our neighborhood , homes were heated by coal fired furnaces. Furnaces were religiously cleaned of the ashes which were then put out for collection. Halloween's Ash Day was celebrated by tipping over as many barrels of ashes as were possible. The bigger the mess, the happier a pre-Halloween.

As for mess's, the first prize goes to knocking over outhouses. Being an urban creature , I know little about this prank other than what my spouse has told me. She knows what she's talking about, having had the misfortune of almost falling into a two holer.

Tricks were boundless and tended to be on the destructive side. Another of the more annoying tricks was to soap the windows of a disliked resident or business. Soaped windows  existed well after Halloween.

When Halloween Day came around, it was almost like a non-event. We were about out of tricks and there were no treats to look forward to. Ringing a few more door bells was all that was left besides avoiding the police patrol car which was on the prowl. Soaping the windows of a police car was the Holy Grail. To my knowledge no one ever tried for it.

It wasn’t until adulthood and children of my own that I discovered more saner Halloween celebrations. I never told the kids up my mischievous ways at Halloween. Glad I didn’t . In these days of gun toting good citizens, tipping over garbage barrels would be considered home invasion and a reason for self defense.

Almost at the end of my huffing and puffing walk. Dare I kick over that garbage barrel before I get home? How about that Johnny-on -the spot? I'll leave that to Marge.

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