Sex Ed in Higher Ed

College instructor teaching human sexuality rants about the dumbing down of America, the lost art of manners, grammar and (the perfect combination of both) the thank you note. Also includes random rants about life, pet peeves, and sometimes raves about favorite things.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Teacher Lady's First Trick-or-Treat

This year was the first time in all my 37 years that I actually gave out candy on Halloween. In the past Mr. J. and I have lived in high rises and townhomes and other places that didn't get trick-or-treaters. (Although I remained hopeful. There was the great fake-out of 2005 when I was convinced that the woman in the townhouse across from us was going to bring her grandchildren to our little community for Halloween. I don't know how I got this idea into my head. I even bought candy. Alas, it was but a fruitless fantasy.)

I don't know why I was so excited but I actually said to people, "This is my first Halloween!" They'd look at me and think, "Why, because you have amnesia?" and I often had to remind myself that 1.) Handing out candy to strangers wasn't that big of a deal; and 2.) No one cared.

Was it everything I thought it would be? Yes, and more. Mr. J.'s sister brought over 2 of her children. Jane was a "cereal killer", complete with giant cereal box taped to her torso with plastic spoons "stabbed" into it. Jack, who turns 7 today (Happy Birthday, Jack!) was a Spidermanvampire.

Yeah, exactly. Jack and I had this conversation last week. "What are you going to be for Halloween?" I asked. Jack looked at me and said in a monotone voice, "Spidermanvampire," Like it was all one word. Taken aback, the only thing I could think of to say was, "Huh?" Jack sighed. Adults must be so exasperating at times. He explained, "I'm going to wear my Spiderman costume from last year but not the hood thing. Mommy bought me vampire teeth. See? Spidermanvampire." Now that is some serious creativity. "Wow, Jack. That's pretty great. How did you think of that?" I could tell he was this close to rolling his eyes, "My imagination!" and if it were me saying that I'm sure I would have added, "Duh!"

So Jack the Spidermanvampire and Jane the cereal killer went off into our fun neighborhood with the houses close together and all the sidewalks a trick-or-treater could ask for. Mr. J. even got home at a reasonable hour and we sat on the front steps and handed out candy. We had been informed by our next door neighbor that it wasn't unusual to have around 150+ trick-or-treaters but we were ready.

And then - I don't know what happened or from whence she came, but of all people - Teacher Lady showed up! I couldn't believe it. First, she - I mean, me - handed out candy to a small boy wearing a giant white puffy jacket, a baseball hat on backwards, enormous jeans that were practically falling off him and I swear he had a cigarette tucked behind his ear. "Trick-or-treat" he said, swaggering up to the front porch. I looked at him skeptically. "What are you, Kevin Federline or something?" I think this boy wasn't much older than Jack. He might have been 9 at the most. He was appalled. "NO!" he shouted. "I'm mumble-mumble-something-mumble wrestler from Ultimate Fighting Champion!" And then he thundered off, mutinous that I could have mistaken him for Britney's ex. Mr. J. looked at me. "What, exactly, is wrong with you?" he asked. I was the picture of innocence. "What? Me? What do you mean? I was simply asking a question." Mr. J. just shook his head.

But things got even worse when another boy, this time maybe 10 or 11 marched up the driveway to the front steps, held out his pillowcase and said trick-or-treat in a monotone voice. I squinted at him. He was wearing a navy blue sweatshirt with a hood, normal-fitting jeans, regular tennis shoes. But there was something about his hairline and serene face (and maybe the hood) that made me think of a monk. I asked, just to be sure, "And who are you, honey?" I asked. Monk-boy shrugged sheepishly and said, "Myself."

Oh, no. I did not spend $40 on candy at Target for you to not even steal your mother's lipstick and earrings and make a feeble effort at being a drag queen. Something. Anything was better than, "Myself." Teacher Lady must have been really bored without anyone to mock all summer and fall. She fully possessed me and looked Mr. Myself straight in the face. "That," she/I said firmly, "Is really, really lame. I'm going to give you candy tonight, but next year you're going to have to come up with something better because this is ridiculous." He nodded at me, listening, looking all serious while Mr. J.'s jaw dropped on the ground. "Oh. My. God. You cannot do that!!" My response" "Oh, I think I can. In fact, I just did and I don't see anything wrong with that." As I turned to distribute candy to two teenagers wearing pajamas (also lame, but at least they're ready to be college students, showing up in public wearing pajamas like that), I heard Mr. J. exhale heavily. "You set the bar way too high," he said.

And then Jane and Jack came back with their mom to refuel on pizza and I decided it was better if I stayed in the house. I wasn't ready to teach college. Apparently, I'm not ready for trick-or-treaters either.



Blogger Veronica Mitchell said...

I was just as excited about trick-or-treaters before I had kids. And you are absolutely right about the uncostumed.

we went to a friend's neighborhood to trick-or-treat. I was surprised by the number of older teenagers trick-or-treating. That doesn't happen so much in my neighborhood. I consider it the only positive influence of gangs.

By the way, you would probably enjoy Suburban Turmoil's approach to the uncostumed.

November 02, 2007 6:53 PM  
Blogger Professor J said...

You are totally within your rights to insist upon costumes!

November 02, 2007 8:58 PM  
Blogger What Now? said...

I once handed out candy with a friend and her mom, the latter clearly being your twin separated at birth. As young women came up to the house in scanty little costumes, she would say, in a very sweet voice, "And are you supposed to be a prostitute, young lady?"

November 03, 2007 4:39 PM  
Blogger Mrs. T said...

I give out yucky candy to the uncostumed. You know- off-brand, hard as a rock "taffy", break your teeth gum. Sometimes those kids get raisins, or spider rings or balloons.
My friend put up a sign that said "No costume, No candy." And it seemed to work really well for her.
My favorite this year was the boy with the Johnny Cash bass voice, who also clearly needed a shave, no costume and a freaking backpack in which to collect his stash.
I give yummier candy to the costumed- even if they are older, as long as they go through the motions.

November 04, 2007 4:15 PM  
Blogger flossie said...

But give yourself credit for trying! I always forget to buy candy and then spend the night hiding inside with the porch light out.

November 04, 2007 9:59 PM  
Blogger Sue said...

I hate the ones who don't even bother to make an effort. But you have to be careful of who you harass for that and who you don't. Say it to the wrong people and you get egged or TP'd.

November 05, 2007 1:29 PM  

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