Monday, November 2, 2009

one bad apple...

I love to entertain.

But I hate the clean-up.

Every year at Halloween I host a pumpkin carving party. It's really an excuse to gather all my neighborhood friends and eat, drink and burn stuff in the fire pit. All that merriment; plus we have our pumpkins already carved come Halloween night.

I was fearful that the weather wouldn't hold for the party this year. There was a huge storm system that stretched all the way from the Texas panhandle up through the Great Lake region. There was no way escaping the rain, it was just a matter of when it would arrive.

Carving pumpkins inside in case it did pour, like it was threatening to do? Not a good idea. I'd be finding pumpkin rinds and seeds until the next Halloween season for sure. The thought of little kids inadvertently throwing pumpkin guts on my walls and furniture was enough to give me a rash. At least keep me from sleeping soundly and dream of drinking heavily.

I became obsessed watching the radar map following the storm on WeatherBug. Waking up in the middle of the night several times to check on my iPhone the storms progress across the Midwest. I started sketching out a 'Plan B' and perhaps even a 'Plan C' in my head if indeed the storm landed in Cleveland when we should be out putting another log on the fire.

But the Weather Gods were on my side, for once, and it was a beautiful day extending into evening. It was even warm! 70 degree flip-flop warm, which is unheard of this time of year. If it holds, the kiddies won't have to don winter coats over their costumes for once.
All was looking good.

The storm hit at 1am. We sat by the bonfire until it started to rain. Feeling the wind pick up as it neared. The clouds overtaking the moon, the wind blowing the branches on the trees to the point of breaking. The sparks from our bonfire lighting up the night sky as if a swarm of fireflies alighted into the air. It rained hard throughout the night and blew many of the glorious colored leaves from the trees. The storm had perfect timing. With it's passing, it would leave the night for Trick-or-Treating clear and rain free. Verging on a full moon, Saturday was shaping up to be quite fun...

Halloween is one of my favorite times of year. It's the best holiday to decorate for, in my humble opinion. Christmas is good, but you can really get your creative juices working for Halloween. Many of you know that I work in the display industry, so you can imagine, I deck out the house. I think I have almost as many Rubbermaid's with decorations for that holiday as for Christmas.

This year was no exception. I even created a new element to add to the already spooky setting.

I've an old chandelier refitted with candles and spiderwebs that gives the front porch a Gothic edge; a large rusty Victorian steamer trunk that holds all the candy; gargoyles galore, tombstones, wrought iron and mummified mannequins. Strobe lights and music complete the ensemble.

This year I built a large archway with black cloth streamers, so you'd have to walk through to get to the front porch, and the candy. It looked pretty cool, if I do say so myself. I lit the pumpkins and chandelier, donned black scary finery, ghoulish make-up and a rusty chain or two and I was ready and waiting for the kiddies to arrive.

I love costumes.
I love making costumes.
I love seeing the costumes that others make.

My daughter went out with her posse from class this year. They've been talking about what they wanted to be for Halloween since school started. One of her friends gets a catalog each year that she chooses from. My daughter balked.

"My mom makes my costumes.", she informed the other girls.

"Uh...we always buy ours.", replied Chloe.

"It's okay. My mom will make yours too!"

And so it was that it became my job to make vinyl jumpers for the girls to be the Go-Go's. They looked fabulous, darling. Really quite colorful and fun.

But this year while handing out the candy, I have to admit I was disappointed with the costumes I saw.

There were a few that were clever, and some that were nice. I understand there are alot of people who don't have a vision for costuming. They go and buy whatever Target or Wal-Mart is selling. I get that. But this year the costumes were really lame. Some people that came asking for candy didn't even wear a costume.

C'mon now.
You've got to be kidding. Right?

There were only about 15 or 20 kids that I knew. Most that came around weren't from our neighborhood, and I don't think even within the community. And again, that's okay. I get it. But still...

However, this year, there were a couple of groups that made the normal fun Trick-or-Treat'ing event distasteful.

You've heard of the "One bad apple spoils the whole barrel"?
I didn't get just one bad apple, I got a peck of them.

A few kids knocked down my archway. Seemingly on purpose.

But that wasn't the extent of it.
When I came off the porch to right it, the others in the group took off with half my candy stash.

What does that say for society? How are these kids being raised?
There was no respect for me, for my home or my property.

I didn't yell at them, or chase them or say anything to them as they ran off. I was afraid that they would come back. If they were that disrespectful while I was standing there, what might happen to my home after I've retired for the night?

And by my passiveness, what does that say about me?

Perhaps because no one holds these kids responsible for their actions they feel entitled to treat people in this manner.

I give out full size candy bars.
Or at least I did.

Not anymore.

I'm not sure if I'm even going to participate in Halloween Trick-or-Treat 2010. I might just have a party for my daughter and her friends and call it a night.

If I do decide to hand out candy, I'm taking a chapter from the classic Charlie Brown cartoon and handing out rocks. I'm going to forgo the Snickers and Reese's and Hershey bars and give out the crap candy that no one likes to those without costumes next year. Or those too old to be out collecting candy anyway.

I'll save the large, yummy candy bars for the few that I know, or that have gone to the trouble to assemble a real costume. Not just a hoodie and a $1 mask.


All it takes are a few bad apples.

With all the Halloween decorations now put away for the year, perhaps in the next 364 days I might have a change of heart.

I do like to throw a party. And give out candy. And make costumes. And see the costumes.
So I'll probably cave and hand out candy even though today I say I won't.

But I will be picky next year.

I don't give out bad apples.
Nor will I give to bad apples. They'll be getting tricks, no treats.

Don't say I didn't tell you.
You've been forewarned...



  1. Sorry you ran in to a barrel of bad apples. I noticed every place that had a bowl on the porch for candy was empty pretty early in the night...this made me think someone was emptying it all in there basket. HOW RUDE!

    Happy Fall!

  2. You MADE vinyl jumpers? OMG. Anything beyond a glue gun and I'm hopeless...

  3. Next year, call Mr. Love Seat I Didn't Need and have him beat their sorry asses if they touch your crap.
    Take THAT, bad apples.

  4. Sorry you had a few little snots, only takes a couple to ruin it for everyone. I miss getting to make costumes. The new thing this year I saw was "princess witches". Come on, who made that one up?

  5. @Tamis - Maybe I'll set out a bowl and have a nanny cam on it so I can get the the candy snatchers as they leave! I like that idea....hmmm.

    @ Lisa (LPC) - I'll make you one in black. We all need a vinyl LBD! :-)

    @JenJen - I should've had back-up. But who knew someone would steal your candy on Halloween?

    @Suzicate - Welcome! Princess Witches? As opposed to the Queen Witch? I don't get it...Very interesting.


  6. Just remember: They are not entitled to ruin your fun. Don't let the few take your enjoyment away.

  7. You painted a wonderful story in the beginning and I was there. Then the knuckleheads showed up and now I'm feeling like you are now. In hindsight I hope you do change your mind. There are kids out there that do and will appreciate your giving. I don't know what this world is coming to but if the good people go away it will be all bad - you can persevere through it all. Hang in there. The best part is that you do have 364 days to think about it!!

  8. That's why I opted to not pass out candy this year. Too many questionables last year.

    I went out to dinner and half expected my house to be egged or my windows to be broken when I got home.

  9. Oh boy, Nancy...I wish I could have seen how you decorated your place, because it sounded AWESOME!

    I can only imagine with your creative flair how it looked!

    Sorry to hear about the bad apples and I so totally agree with what you shared about certain kids and respect. I live in an apartment building with a plethora of college students and let me tell you...they all need to start listening to Aretha Franklin's song....


    Enjoyed this post!

  10. I hear ya loud and clear, Nancy.
    I love to go all out on my daughter's costume, and the decorations, and the treats. But while I still make a big deal on her costume, the decorations I put out these days are the ones I don't mind having stolen, and the treats have gone from Big Grab snacks of Ruffles and Cheetos to the bite sized Milky Ways.
    I try not to let the "bad apples" ruin it for my daughter who still has a lot of trick or treating years ahead of her, but it's hard not to notice the change in the tide.
    You're a regular reader of my blog so you know what it is I think... bad parenting. It's as simple as that. So we good parents have to keep up the morale and the united front... and it wouldn't hurt to have some "tricks" up your sleeves. Yay, I'm too chicken to use them too. Well, we've got a year to come up with something ;-).

  11. You are so right-- that's probably why I so often go back to the topic of manners, courtesy or respect... It kills me to see where we've gone as a society, and there are so many signs of it. It's a bummer, that the kids treated you that way, but on the other hand, I totally love that your daughter was so proud of you MAKING her costume, and that you made them for the gang! COOL!

  12. You give out WHOLE candy bars? I'm surprised you don't have thirty-somethings who've moved from the neighborhood setting their GPS to find your house every year :-)

  13. Growing up we was real poor and a lot of times we didn't even do Halloween. We did do some years of going trick or treating with out costumes. Mom would tell us, just cause we can't afford costume is no reason we couldn't have just as much fun as the other kids. I understand her meaning NOW, but back then it was just embarrasing.

    I would have called the cops, those ingrates!

  14. Trick-or-treating in LA is like cows going to slaughter.

    much love

  15. That's too bad, Nancy. DH and I weren't even home on Halloween night; we went to see Wicked instead, but I have heard horror stories from my friends who were home for trick or treaters. Do you think it was the full moon making them crazy?

  16. I have to say it sounds rather marvellous. Do you make a fuss of christmas too?

  17. sadly england is a bit curmudgeonly when it comes to all things halloween.

    can't wait to hear about your christmas :)

  18. This is why we don't go Trick-or-Treating. We stay home with the kids and watch "It's a Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown". Then I buy my children a bag of 1/2 price candy the next day. They love it and plus we live in a rural area so no one comes out our way unless they are up to no good.

    Better Luck next year!

  19. Wow, you really had me wishing that Halloween was bigger here in Australia until you got to the bad apples - poor thing. Hope something really wonderful happens next year to make up for it :)

  20. Don't let them ruin your fun....I don't know much about halloween, being from over the other side of the planet, but it sounds like you might be the spirit of it. I say fill your trunk up with apples to give to the kids who are dressed lame/behaving like punks/trying to ruin things. Also maybe next year you could make yourself a very convincing police woman outfit :)

  21. I had super polite trick or treaters. Of course, I only had 3 because I left at 7 for a party. One little boy(dressed as a cowboy) looked up at me, after I forced a second package of Swedish fish on him, and said.... "you are a nice lady.". Heart-melting. I was also dressed as a fairy, so that might have helped. His dad was filming the entire thing. Good parents=good treaters. Just my opinion.

  22. I love Halloween too. I'm so bummed that we don't get any trick or treaters at our place. We live on the 2nd floor of a little apartment house and the door is around back. At our old apartment we got some of the CUTEST little kids all dressed up...and some teenagers who didn't even try. Oh well.

    Don't let those jerks ruin the night for you. But maybe next year you could crack some eggs into their bags instead.

  23. Dearest Nancy ~ here's what you do, have a wing man (or woman) get yourself another like minded adult to hang with you when you pass out treats....preferably one dressed in a costume that you can't determine is neither male OR female...a little intimidation goes a long way with neighborhood punks....#1 - you'll be less passive and more proactive to curb these hooligan's behavior....because you won't want to look like a wuss in front of your wingman. ;) #2 - a accomplice can help you carryout "tricks" for those who don't deserve "treats".

    Don't worry, we had some bad apples with no costumes in my neighborhood....we had a slutty bumble bee and slutty ladybug (and when i say slutty...I mean...14 year old girls letting it ALL hang out in the teeny tiniest costumes EVER)...somewhere, somebody went wrong with their child rearing.

    And yeah, keep the good candy for the good kids. You don't have to be an Equal Opportunity Candy Passer Outer. My cousin Kami makes up little bags with the jackpot of trick or treating. she stashes those back, or just inside the door for the kids she knows and wants to spoil rotten.

    You are one of those really cool houses to trick or treat at from the sound of things, don't let a couple bad apples stop you from being the you we all know via blog and love! k?


    If life throws you bad apples....make applesauce!


  24. First, let me say - THANKS for picking me as your Follower of Note this week! I am super excited about it and it certainly means a lot to me.

    Second - I'm really sorry to hear that a bunch of degenerate kids ruined your halloween and stomped on your spirit of the season. If the kids did that - you can just imagine what their parents must be like.

  25. I'm sorry to hear about your experience. I love the drama of Halloween and honestly, years ago, used to invest the time and energy into decorating. I would get 100 pounds of small pie-sized pumpkins and spill them down my front steps. Then decorated my porch with candles. But one year, later in the night. Someone (or a group of someones) broke all my pumpkins on the sidewalk. I'm not inside the mind of the perpetrators, so I am not sure what the motivation was that precipitated that event. Much like you, I found myself retreating from the holiday. I took all my holiday decorating love and transferred it to Christmas. Maybe allowing my disappointment (and perhaps fear) to influence my behavior is not exactly admirable. It just causes me a lot less stress.

  26. Kudos to you for making your daughter's costume! I think that's awesome, and I hope someday when I have kids, I'm able to do this, too...although I'm really not very talented when it comes to that sort of thing. Sorry about the bad apples. :-(

  27. I don't get many Trick or Treaters up on the third floor. Don't let those few kids spoil your fun next year.

  28. I'm so mad for you. I can only imagine that feeling of being punched in the gut and then spit on when all you wanted to do was have some fun and create fun for the neighborhood. Jerks! Next year I propose that you hand out laxative filled cookies or something along those lines. Actually, I hope that you wont do that, but it sounds like fun right?

  29. Halloween just isn't that big a deal over here yet. But it is slowly getting more and more popular. It’s a shame though that some people just have no respect. I'm sure next year you will have a change of heart though.

    Not everyone is a monster?

  30. I must admit...I cheat and decorate once for Halloween and Thanksgiving, so there is nothing beyond a basic fallish theme. But I soooo want to be sitting around your bonfire, glass of wine in one hand, congac cigar in the other (yes I do). Sounds like a darn good time, especially with the storm threatening. I LOVE storms.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I appreciate it :)

  31. Halloween is actually a pretty peaceful affair in my little town. But where I grew up we had something horrible called 'Gate Night' the night before Halloween, when the nastier teenagers would wreak havoc on the town. We'd wake up Halloween morning to smashed pumpkins on the main street, eggs and toilet paper all over the place, etc. But at least they left the Halloween decorations alone on Halloween.

    When I was out with my daughters the other night we came upon one house with a man dressed up as a really freaky murderous farmer, complete with handmade wooden coffin with a moaning, screaming 'thing' inside it. The farmer walked back and forth by the coffin scraping the shovel along the concrete driveway and would approach the kids as they went up for their treats. It scared the crap out of us, so maybe that's what you need next year! Or like someone else said, a really convincing police woman costume.

  32. This is why I'm glad kids don't come to my house. If they messed with my property or candy, I'd flip out...Then I'd be the one getting lectured by the police!

    By the way, you definitely get a thumbs out for handing out full size candy bars. There's nothing fun about "Fun Size" candy.

  33. I understand how you feel, but don't let a 'few bad apples' spoil something that you love to do.

    There will always be those who don't appreciate or take advantage of others generosity, but for everyone that doesn't, there are many more that do. Keep celebrating!

    Thanks for following my blog. I was honored to say the least.


  34. I know what you mean. I'm a costume designer who works for a theatre that opens the annual CHRISTMAS show on HALLOWEEN. I only wish I were kidding. I rarely have the energy for a full halloween costume because by the time it rolls around, I've been up to my eyeballs in Christmas costumes for at least 2 months. But I completely support your stance against bad apples. Good for you. And I hope next year your halloween is much better.

  35. I just HATE when that kind of stuff happens. Especially after you put so much of your heart and soul into the decorations. It really dampens your faith in humanity. I remember Vlad's first Christmas, I put out lights on the porch and some kids came and unscrewed the bulbs. It's so demoralizing and you feel so violated, even though it's a seemingly small thing to other people. Hugs to you, Nancy!

    I like your idea, though, of giving each trick-or-treater what they actually deserve.

  36. Man, I'd love to go to your house for Halloween!

  37. Dear Friend, I am so sorry those little snots dampened your night. You have such a fun and wonderful spirit. Don't let them take the Halloween holiday from you. I agree with your new idea, the good candy goes to those close to you, give the crap to the others....take care. Happy Halloween

  38. It sounds like you had your fair share of bad apples ~ more like a bushel! We were never big planners for Halloween but at least we made an effort. Some kids just don't have any respect these days ~ a friend of mine told me this: little cute girl ~ about 5 yrs old comes up ~ little butterfly ~ he drops a bag of Doritos in her bag and she plucks them out, says I don't like these, passes them back to him and turns around and leaves. He was flabbergasted!! I can't imagine doing that ~ we were grateful for what we got. Oh well ~ now I am rambling.... Love your stories!

  39. I was a little bastard when I was a kid and I turned out...ok. I say hand out the candy!

  40. No, sweetie! Don't let 'em do that to you! Next year, you simply open the door and dole out the candy yourself. And if someone's not wearing a costume (we get that a lot with the older kids...say over 13 or so), I politely say,"And what are YOU supposed to be??" and make them sputter. Then I reach for the bowl with the not-so-exciting candies for their not-so-exciting "costume". Then I yell "Thanks for coming!" as they leave, if they forget to say thank you, which they usually DO.

    Yeah, that whole "now they know where I live thing is bad, bad, bad. Not worth losing sleep over it!

  41. Coming to the door and asking for candy with no costume = LAME and pretty darn ballsy!

  42. I really grilled my kids before we went out on the importance of saying thank you, with the threat that we would go home if they forgot to do it more than once.

  43. Great, I'm gonna be singing One Bad Apple all day now. LOL

    Come and enter my blog giveaway!!!

  44. BRATS! SPOILED BRATS! Ruin everything. Maybe I need to send my Broom your way next year! I think my reputation has preceeded me to my new abode. I found out my new nickname this year is the "White Devil Woman". And I hadn't even gotten my broom or hat out yet!

    BTW-You have an award at my place. (You are one of the first blogs I read when I started last month.)

  45. Oh Nancy, that's horrible. I can only hope that I have raised my son well enough that he would never be such an ingrate!

    I am so JEALOUS!!! You can write AND decorate AND design clothing too!!??


    BTW...I posted a fav. quote on your latest entry...I think it applies here too;)

  46. You are the mom my adult children probably wished they had. I could no more sew and design a costume than .... well than a lot of things. But maybe not the best costumed, my kids did dress up and they were polite and gracious. Do you think we can go back to a time when only "kids" trick or treated and they all wore costumes and they all said thank you and meant it? Thanks for all your hard work to make halloween fun again. Even for me and I'm a halloween curmudgeon.

  47. Aww. Why would someone do that? That's horrible. I'm sorry you had to deal with those jack-asses. Halloween around your place sounds like a lot of fun. I always love looking at all the cool costumes people come up with as well. Sounds like you went all-out!

  48. You MADE vinyl jumpers? OMG. Anything beyond a glue gun and I'm hopeless... Work From Home


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