The following story contains- ah, never mind. Just read it because it’s about my boys.
And yes, it’s a true story…
It wasn’t until I had children of my own that I learned that schools allow for young’uns to go trick-or-treating within the safe confines of their walls. Now THAT is cool, right? Candy, SAFE candy, passed out by teachers and parent/student volunteers in a safe and neutral environment. No “bag snatching”. No car accidents. No exposure to rain and cold temperatures. No practical jokes gone awry.
The way it works in schools, the children walk a designated path, oftentimes in low-to-no lighted areas of the hallways, stopping in the corridors and entries to classrooms where costumed volunteers await; some with candy to share, some waiting only to scare…
Me? I hate it. I’m a grown-ass man who came from a wild-ass neighborhood with a bunch of crazy-ass kids and ghetto-ass parents. But this isn’t about it me. This is about God’s little angels and making the world a better place for tomorrow because we didn’t endanger or pervert them. Sooooo, on with the story.
October, 2000. We’d lived in Columbus, Ohio for less than a year with a family of six: Mom, Dad and four little boys ranging from 5 months to 8 years old. Trick-Or-Treating was being held at Kae Avenue Elementary School and I led my crew during this festive event with the baby in the stroller as we followed the caravan of children on our “quest for candy”.
The line-up: Spiderman (Kenny Jr., 8), Jar-Jar Binks (Kevin, 6) and “Something” Man (Brandon, 3)
Everything went as designed: Stop in a doorway, get some candy and move on. Since I was pushing Baby Jason (can’t remember what costume he wore, if any), all we did was collect goodies in his little baby bucket and move on. His brothers got to enjoy the sights and interact with the ghouls, ghosts and goblins on our junk food journey. We walked a little slower than the ongoing line of children ahead, so we had a bit of a gap between ourselves and the group in front of us. After collecting more candy, I picked up the pace to catch up with the candy collectors and parents ahead, leaving my group behind.
All was going well as my baby boy and I rounded the last corner for the home stretch. Everyone was smiling and thinking about the amount of snacks we had gathered along the way, just begging to be eaten.
As we approached the next classroom doorway, I noticed slight movement in the entrance to one of the closed classroom entrances. Before the young “spooker” could jump out, I firmly ordered “WAIT! I’m passing through with a little baby.”
The young man in the monster costume complied and receded into the darkness as I casually walked by, smiling at him. “Get the next group,” I instructed, being my usual wicked self. Hey, if I can’t participate, I’ll instigate and initiate.
Seconds later, my family came innocently around the corner with my 2nd youngest, Something Man, leading the way. As he stepped into the ambush zone, the young monster jumped out, as I expected, yelling “RrrrARRRRGGhhhh!”
This is the part of the story where I could flashback to the early years of each child, but it’s not necessary. Suffice it to say that I taught each of my children to fight, at a very early age. Momma didn’t care for me making them stand and fight (no, I never harmed any of my boys), not running from punches, but countering with their own. Fearing nothing.
What happened, you ask? What do you THINK?
Without warning, without hesitation and without fear, Brandon aka Something Man swung his cloth sack full of candy, hard. He struck the young prankster right in the face, causing him to lose the bag of “pass out” candy which scattered everywhere. I think the most frightening part of it all was Brandon’s stoic expression as he knocked the kid to the floor.
And that’s when the REAL horror show began. My son’s candy bag didn’t break…
…and neither did his pounding.
That poor kid screamed at the top of his lungs until my boys and their shocked mother pulled my Super-Son off of him.
I don’t know what “Something” Man was, but it sure meant SOMETHING.
It’s been 19 years since that incident. Jason, the “baby” graduated high school two years ago. Son #2 lives at home and works in retail. #1 has moved out and lives with his girlfriend.
Son #3? Something Man? He’s an up and coming recording artist with no recollection of the incident, unlike his older brothers, mom and dad. None of my boys participate in Halloween anymore unless you count helping me pass out candy on “Beggar’s Night” or their attendance at local costume parties and dances.
But that kid? That poor kid. I’m sure Halloween has a different meaning for him. And I’m quite sure he’s not fond of children yelling “Trick Or Treat” either…
Probably because he confuses their words with “Whip Or Beat.”
Don’t forget to be safe (and stay away from the “Children Of The Candy Corn”).