Well, it’s almost October and the countdown to trick or treating will commence. I miss the annual tradition of wearing an extremely flammable costume with a suffocating mask, made even more unbearable by the mile long slit my Mother made in it, so that I could “breathe easier” – making my Yoda look more like Kermit the Frog. I miss that one night, roaming the wild streets of my suburban neighborhood, unsupervised; feeling like I was living a life straight out of The Warriors movie. I miss the sadness of seeing my friends stuffing candy into a pillow case: the same pillowcase that would be used again that evening when they went to bed, as I strode along with my ever-so-fancy plastic pumpkin Trick or Treat receptacle. I miss dumping the fruits of my labor onto the kitchen counter when I got home, dividing it up into the following categories:

1: items that had to be “looked over” by my Mother for hidden razor blades, shrapnel, needles, firearms, parasites, plastic explosives and the like.

2: items that were an insult to what should be Halloween delicacies; i.e. anything that was labeled as “sugar-free” or “healthy” (I’m looking at you granola bar)

3: items, that when consumed in bulk, would not only disrupt the next eight to nine weeks of sleep patterns (maybe THAT was the real reason why I struggled falling to sleep Christmas Eve), but would also cause abdominal pain, that to my adolescent mind, was akin to labor pains.

That was Halloween in a nutshell.

As an adult, my love for Halloween is as strong as it was when I was a child. Sadly, I no longer have the opportunities to dress up, but I love to decorate my house into a ghoulish monstrosity every year and I enjoy giving out candy to the trick or treaters. Here’s where I go off on some of these little jerks…

– Put some effort into your costume! A Superman t-shirt doesn’t make you Superman, it makes you a lazy little pud. Camouflage pants do not make you a soldier, it makes you a lazy little pud. Two black marks under your eyes doesn’t make you a football player, it makes you a lazy little pud.

– Say “Trick or Treat”! Don’t waste my time coming to my door and when I open it, you stand there like an idiot holding out your bag with that vacant look on your face. *** Exceptions: if you are dressed as a zombie, mime or Charlie Chaplin, your muteness is acceptable, but here’s the catch: if you’re a zombie, you better at least moan or have a slab of ham sticking out of your mouth. If you are a mime, you better look like you are trying to get out of a box to get some candy. If you are Charlie Chaplin, you damn well better have walked up to my door with your feet pointing outward, swinging your cane! ***

– Take one piece of freaking candy! Look, I’m being a nice guy and letting you choose whatever you like, rather than subject you to the luck of the draw. Don’t stick your grubby mitt into the bowl like a steam shovel and scoop out roughly 15 pounds of candy. If you do that at my house, I will call you out on it, take my candy back and send you on your way. Go be a greedy, entitled hog somewhere else.

– And finally: SAY THANK YOU! If you don’t, no matter what you dress up as moving forward each year, I WILL remember you and you WILL receive a trick. Go ahead. Try me.

So, please keep those things in mind and have a safe, Happy Halloween. And remember: at my house, the mean monster handing out the candy is a lot scarier than any of the grotesque decorations in my yard.