Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Kids These Days

As I was driving home from work today, I had an inspiration – one of those flashes of creativity that can’t be predicted or managed in any way. But it was Halloween, and I knew I would have to do it.

My wife and daughter were away visiting friends for the evening, so it was going to be my job to hand out candy to the neighborhood children. It’s kind of a delightful chore, but it can become a bit tedious and repetitive. And the more I think about it, Halloween is a holiday in which we celebrate urban terrorism and greed. It’s worse than Christmas, where we can threaten children with no toys if they don’t behave. On Halloween, we let them disguise themselves and demand protection payoffs, much like the Mafia.

So I thought it would be cool to turn the tables a little bit. What I needed was a candy bucket, a fake hand, and a sock. Fortunately, I had the fake hand already. I have two of them, actually. Don’t ask.

bucket


I didn’t have much time before the first Trick-Or-Treaters started to show up, so I needed to get moving. First, I cut a hole in the bottom of the candy bucket with my craft knife. The hole was partly on the bottom and partly on the side, large enough for me to slip my hand in.

hole


Next, I cut the foot portion off the sock and glued the resulting sleeve around the opening of the hole with my hot-glue gun.

glued_sock


sock_inside


I had to glue the fake hand onto the bottom of the bucket, but for some reason, the glue from my hot-glue gun wouldn’t stick to the rubbery surface of the fake hand (it stuck to the bucket just fine). In a panic, I tried superglue, and it worked great.

assembly


finished_bucket


Now all I had to do was slip my hand into the bucket through the sock sleeve, fill the bucket with candy, and when kids came to the door, I’d hold the bucket out for them to grab a handful. But just as they reached into the bucket, my hand would spring out and grab them! It would scare the little rugrats half to death! It was really going to be cool!

hand_in_bucket


scary


I sat anxiously, waiting for the doorbell to ring, trying to watch TV and suppressing a nervous giggle. Finally, at about 7 pm, someone showed up and rang the bell. I slid my hand into the bucket, covered it with candy, and opened the door. There stood a couple of little boys, dressed like ghouls, their parents smiling on the sidewalk. “Trick or Treat!” they cried. I bent down to show them the goodies in the bucket, and they both reached in simultaneously. Suddenly, my hand shot up and grabbed one of their hands! It was the moment I’d been waiting for!

They both stopped fishing for candy, and looked up at me with a weird, “What are you trying to pull” look on their faces. It was almost as though they were embarrassed by my pathetic lame joke. They quietly slipped their candy into their bags, turned and walked off, glancing over their shoulders to make sure I wasn’t following them down the walk.

It was the same with the next group of kids, and the group after that. Nobody was scared, nobody was impressed. I showed the rig to a few parents, who seemed genuinely appreciative of the work that went into it, but my target audience has clearly labeled me as the creepy guy in the neighborhood. To be completely fair, I did score a shriek from a group of young teenage girls, but they shriek at anything.

I think maybe kids have developed a sense of entitlement about Halloween, and guys like me were just making things difficult. It’s their holiday, and they were just there for the damn candy. The adults who actually live in the houses are mere obstructions.

2 comments:

burton said...

haha! I know what you mean! I would say that if we hit 20 houses last night for trick or treating, 5 of them were manned by someone with a nice gimmick like this. We told the boys not to approach any houses that did not have an outside light. The best gimmick was a house with one outside light and what appeared to be 2 scarecrows out front. As the kids approached the front porch, one of the "scarecrows" silently and swiftly marched back to the front door to cut off the kids. Upon further study, it was a girl dressed in military attire with a toy rifle. It all looked authentic though and the kids were thrown off. The front door was open and they had shielded off the entrance so you could not see inside. They had a fog machine and some creepy background sounds. As she approached the house, she looked at the kids - still no sound and creeped into the foyer to get the candy bucket. she then stood inside and waived the kids forward. They came in but as soon as they got their candy, they RAN out of the house and away from the lawn. They were seriously creeped out. The soldier marched quietly back into place awaiting the next visitor. Great stuff! The rest of the gimmicks (and not to put down your contraption, because I think it is a great setup!) did not seem to phase the kids. Adults dressed as vampires, Santa Ghoul handing out treats, a resident who actually spent hundreds of dollars on scary mechanical beings that lined their doorway and had motion detectors on them - none of these really phased the kids like the soldier in the dark. It was great and I had to tip my hat to her.

Martini said...

Hilarious, and completely rotten. Sorry to hear the reaction you recieved was the opposite of what you had expected. I think that's pretty unusual. Maybe somebody tipped off the neighbourhood kids beforeHAND? Still, I gotta give you a HAND for the effort you put in. You're pretty HANDY. HAND! Get it? Hand? Now I'M not getting the reaction that *I* wanted.

- "Doc Brown"