i stood in the doorway and adjusted my shiny witch hat as i watched him approaching. dressed as, shit i don't know, a mummy? maybe a tampon!? his confident gait belied his young age. i shifted the large metal bowl i once ate an entire box of dry quaker oat squares out of against my hip, arranging its contents so that the most delectable candies were prominently displayed on top. i went to target last week, before all the good shit was sold out and i was stuck giving out smarties and circus peanuts, and i spent thirty motherfucking dollars on good shit. not candy corn, no good and plentys, and none of those shriveled little tootsie roll turds: there would be no retaliatory egging at this scary old witch's house. scattered throughout the packs of skittles and starburst were brightly colored rubber spiders and glossy vampire fangs. you know, because this is the cool house.
without so much as a "trick or treat!" he bounded up our stairs and accosted me on the porch, tailed closely by a handful of friends all dressed as satan or maybe drake but what the fuck do i know about what kids are into, breathless and vibrating with the kind of energy i can only assume accompanies being allowed to use one's pillowcase outside of the house. "ugh, what are these teeth for?" amenhotep sighed in disgust, plucking a neon pink pair from where it had been nestled between a full-sized reese's cup and the good kind of m+ms to hold in front of my face for review, as if he'd found a used condom or a bottle of xanax in the bowl.
"oh, um...?" i stammered. i hadn't gotten a chance to rehearse before dusk had fallen and screaming batmen and runny-nosed pikachus had come stampeding up the stairs before i'd memorized all my lines. i had only prepared to: 1 exclaim "happy halloween!" with something resembling enthusiasm while waiting interminably long for kindergartners to make the agonizing decision between a snickers and a milky way 2 glare menacingly at the greedy monsters attempting to take more than one candy bar at a time and 3 quickly dip back inside the foyer to grab an unwieldy snack sized bag of unsweetend diet popcorn should some pale, bubble-wrapped child require one due to his allergies. "they're just fun halloween teeth? you know, for fun!?" i groaned internally and silently wished for a meteor to strike the house.
apparently satisfied with that answer, i leaned against the door frame for support as ramses inspected nearly every piece of name brand, expensive candy i had to offer, longing for a simpler time, the olden days of nightclubs circa 2002: wedged in a corner away from the bar between a sexy cat and a sexy burn victim, my "costume" little more than a pair of devil horns worn with my regular clothes, drinking too many corpse revivers and el diablos way too quickly. it's not even eleven o'clock and already two (!!!) hilarious geniuses have asked if i'm benny the bull and since the knives in here are too dull to effectively cut my wrists open the long way i am choosing instead to attempt suicide the old fashioned way: listening to a hot dude who doesn't want to fuck me ask a bunch of questions about the friend i came here with.
after what felt like an eternity tutankhamun finally settled on a hershey bar, just as my arm started to go numb from the effort of patiently holding ten pounds of free candy aloft for a child i had never met to choose from. he reconsidered the teeth and reached in the bowl to snatch them back. i ushered him away from my goddamned house and noticed the candy line had stretched down the block. "all that time for a fucking hershey bar!?" i grumbled under my breath, seething in the direction of his hastily wrapped bandages as he trampled the flowers in the front yard. the teenage mutant ninja turtle next in line widened his eyes in a combination of awe and horror at hearing the f-word out of the mouth of a responsible adult. "sorry about that kid, he's picky," donatello (is that the orange one?) apologized on behalf of his friend xerxes. "and this isn't exactly the best candy." he shrugged before depositing three individual twix and a nestle crunch into his mother's reusable grocery sack. i was gobsmacked.
michelangelo (raphael?) wished me a perfunctory "happy halloween" as he hustled down the steps to meet up with the rest of his crew. imhotep turned to thank me for my disappointing offerings to the gods of all hallows eve and pointed to the jack o'lanterns rotting on the ledge in front of the house. "those are gross!" he called, waving festively, off to feast on the insecurities of the sensible mom handing out raisins and toothpaste and bibles next door. i dumped the candy out on the driveway then slammed the door in the crying face of a tiny little doc mcstuffins before shutting the blinds, turning off every light in the house, then dousing it in gasoline burning the whole thing to a smoldering ash. i sat in my good chair the dining room, face pressed to the window as the flames licked at my skin through my cheap, flammable clothing, scowling as 47-year-old trick or treaters fought with squirrels and raccoons over discounted novelty chocolate, their greedy eyes flashing in the towering firelight.
living is a mistake, and so is buying a house. not having to think about halloween is one of the many primo benefits of living in an apartment. no having to fix my own toilet, and no having to rake myself over the emotional coals trying to figure out which bag of assorted candy i am too sophisticated to eat will be the most pleasing to the carloads of other people's goddamn kids banging on my fucking door begging for food to prevent them from throwing dog shit at my car. next year this crazy cat lady who never leaves the house is giving out apples. with razor blades.