With Halloween on the horizon I thought I would share the story of when my friends and I trick or treated a few weeks too early… while we were in high school.
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My High School Cult
I firmly believe that one of the secrets to living a happy life is to never let the kid in you die. In other words, never stop playing. If you enjoyed doing something when you were a kid, there is a good chance you might still enjoy doing it today. In high school I lived this idea without really thinking about it. Only in hindsight do I see why I sometimes miss the old days. Back then I regularly did stuff that grownups think they are too old to do.
Every now and then people are given the opportunity to forget about whom they really are and become whomever or whatever they want. No, I am not referring to Mardi Gras. Nor do I mean the neighbor who talks to himself as a different person every day while he checks his mail. This is also not about every Friday night where you hang out with people by the names of Jim and Jack who enable you to transform into your wild alter-ego, Heisenberg. Here I am referring to the holiday where evil things are celebrated. It is the only day where from society’s perspective it is okay for people to be axe murderers. No one judges you if you are a prostitute, you are not considered a douche if you pretend to be someone who has been 1,000x more successful than you will ever be. Even religious people don’t mind if you decide to take on the persona of the devil, and hell, you can even get away with dressing up as a penis. This is the holiday where fat Timmy gets more exercise than any other time of the year as he attempts to obtain even more candy than he himself can eat. Kids will knock down other kids just to get the highest candy count within their given clique. Halloween is the real deal. The main problem with it though, is that we for some reason we think it should only be an activity for kids. I know when I turn 40 I will be getting drunk and dressing up like a used condom (or something less vulgar). I will someday go head-to-head in the yearly candy competition with my daughter, given I train her to like competition.
Now Halloween is a wonderful tradition and all since it gives kids and parents a reason to exercise, but have you ever wondered what happens if you try to enact the tradition on a random fall night? Have you ever trick-or-treated with a group of eighteen year old kids? While in high school my friends and I learned firsthand that most adults living in the suburbs are boring. They also lack this thing known as a sense of humor. Some have serious anger problems. Most take life too seriously.
Halloween reveals a lot of information about people. You really can learn a lot about someone by the costume that they choose to wear. You learn about their fantasies, their insecurities, you find out who their heroes and role models are, and you can even get a sense as to whether or not they have a creative side. Halloween is also interesting in how it changes for us as we grow up. It takes on a different meaning as we add candles to our birthday cakes. When I was seven years old I was superman. The girls in my class were mostly cute princesses and Disney characters. At eight I was batman, the girls were cute Polly Pockets. When I was twenty-two I was still superman. All of the girls though were just sluts. Princess slut, cheerleader slut, cowgirl slut, nurse slut, CEO slut, hooker slut, devil slut, angel slut, construction worker slut, jungle girl slut, and even fruit slut. It is hard to say what exactly happens in life that causes girls to go from being cute, to self-objectifying sluts, but Halloween causes even the normally non-slutty girls to become sluts. Depending on what age you are, Halloween can be either a quest for candy, or a drunken night of costume wearing NSA sex. It may be the only night where it makes sense for the devil to procreate with an angel. It would be interesting to find out how many STDs are transferred over the course of the average Halloween weekend.
If you ever really want to piss off your neighborhood, my best advice may be to simply go trick-or-treating two or three weeks before the actual holiday. Go trick-or-treating in July. To piss them off even more make sure you go with a group of friends who are well over the usual trick-or-treating age. It was on a random Thursday night well before Halloween when my friends and I became a cast of new people and embarked into the Littleton suburbs. Who says you can only hunt for candy one night per year? That night I was with Dennis Rodman. I was with a referee and a homeless guy and Jason. One of us was a civilian and there was a guy wearing a smorgasbord of stuff who just called himself Percy. My cast of new friends and I decided on a set pose for when people answered the door. One of us threw up a peace sign and someone else had his pelvis thrust forward with his hands on his hips. Someone had their hands pointing to the sky in the same manner as Usain Bolt whenever he wins a gold medal. I had my head tilted to the side while looking straight up at nothing in particular. Before going out that night we already knew that we had perfected the act of looking like clowns. Armed with pillow cases we drove to a neighborhood where none of us lived just to hedge the risk of running into anyone we knew. That night we assumed we would get more candy than anyone else, and it was going to be great practice for the real thing coming up in a few weeks.
After first getting out of our car the homeless guy wearing a cape decided on which house would be our first stop and we all followed. As we stood on the doorstep it took us about thirty seconds to figure out exactly what we were going to do. If any of the neighbors had seen us they probably had their fingers ready to dial 911. We looked like a circus gang preparing to rob a house. We ended up staggering ourselves on each side of the porch and planned to hold ground in our pre-determined poses. It was decided we would try not to move until they gave us our candy. What do you do when a bunch of jackasses show up on your porch yelling trick-or-treat in September? June? In January?
Clown group: “TRICK-OR-TREAT”
Asshole guy: “What? It’s not Halloween guys.”
Fred: “We are just practicing, you know so we can get more candy than everyone else. Don’t you want to get practice giving candy to kids?”
Asshole guy: “You guys should leave, now. This isn’t funny. Don’t you fucks have something better to do?”
Fred: “So you are going to show us a trick I take it?”
Laughter followed as the guy slammed the door in our faces. It could have been that we just interrupted him from his nightly The Apprentice viewing, as he seemed unacceptably pissed off. The guy was likely in his mid-forties and he never once broke a smile. Not even seeing Dennis Rodman bent over with his ass sticking out towards him produced a grin. Perhaps the right thing to have done would have been to ask him to join us, it probably wouldn’t have hurt to have someone dressed up as the devil in our company. Despite starting out 0-1 after the first attempt our spirits were not hindered and we continued on to another house.
The atmosphere outside of the next house had welcoming written all over it. Every room appeared to have a light on. The non-existent energy saver inside of me would have been outraged at such a sight, but luckily even back then I respected people who wasted a little power here and there. We rang the doorbell while standing on the lit-up porch and hopped into our poses like clockwork. Like it was something we did every night. As if we had done it more recently than seven years ago. We pretended that our society accepted it as something high school kids do on the regular.
Clown group: “TRICK-OR-TREAT!!”
Middle Aged Virgin Lady: “Oh! Oh my, is it really Halloween?? It can’t be!”
Fred: “Well, you see, we are just trying to get ahead of the game, get some practice you know?”
MAVL: “Wow, I don’t think I have ever had anything like this happen to us before. Hold on and let me see if we have anything I can give you.”
We waited for about five minutes (we never found out who she meant by “we” but I would guess she meant her cat. It also could have been her TV, it could have been an imaginary friend, we will never know for sure).
MAVL: “Okay guys, I am sorry we don’t have any candy, but here. I have these animal crackers, and these marshmallows, and here is an apple too.”
Fred: “Oh wow, you are too kind, are you sure you want to give us these things?”
MAVL: “Yes, we won’t eat this stuff. I feel bad we don’t have candy for you though.”
Fred: “I feel like we are eating you out of house and home, are you sure you can get by without this stuff?”
MAVL: “Haha don’t you boys worry. You made my night so thank you for that. I hope you have more luck with other people and that they are ready with their candy! Who is the guy with the green hair supposed to be?”
The lady was without a doubt a virgin. The innocence and curiosity she exuded just doesn’t exist among women who have experienced trauma within their uterine walls. If she had been a slayer of countless wieners as many women her age have been, she would have reacted much differently when a group of young males showed up on her porch. She otherwise would have likely been a bitch. If she wasn’t a bitch then she was probably divorced. If she was divorced then there was potential for her being a cougar, and who knows, one of us could have been invited inside. This lady represented everything that a cougar does not.
The icing on the cake was the fact that the marshmallows were rock hard. You could have broken a window with them and I doubt the lady had made a s’more since the eighties. The expiration date on the animal crackers was in 2002. Up until then I didn’t know they could expire, they seemed far too magical for such a generic time stamp. Regardless as to how long the apple had been in her house, it ended up being smashed in her street a few minutes after we left. She was onto the right idea by handing out fruit however, since in America the growing number of fat kids is starting to compete with the number of fat adults. If anything we did the lady a favor by helping her rid her pantry of some old food. The score for the night moved to 1-1. It is very interesting how different people react so uniquely to the exact same situation. Maybe the world could use a few more virgins. We were confident with our success rate of 50% as we rang the doorbell on the next house.
Clown group: “TRICK-OR-TREAT”
Drunk guy with beer in hand: “Hey guys! It’s not Halloween?”
Fred: “Yes sir, do you have any candy or beer you would like to give us?”
DGBH: “Haha you guys look too young for that, but hold on let me ask my wife.”
(Approximately two minute wait)
DGBH: “Alright you guys are in luck. Box of pop tarts and this bag of Hershey kisses. When you guys are 21 come back and I will hook you up with some bud light.”
Fred: “You are awesome, it’s not even Halloween man haha, if you ever want to party just call me, my name is Percy.”
DGBH: “Percy is really your name? Thanks guys enjoy that pop tart, it’s the good ones.”
Fred: “Happy Halloween bud.”
DGBH: “Who are you guys anyways?”
Fred: “Just call us 8orade.”
Have you ever considered the possibility of the world being a better place if all of us were drunk, all of the time? Some people just transform into wildly friendly and generous people once they get a handful of beers into their system. I can only imagine how much sugar the guy would have given us if he had his candy prepared.
Fred: “This time we should try saying Happy Hanukah.”
Sean: “Haha, let’s do it.”
Eli: “Why would you do that? If you say that I am not going to this house with you.”
Fred: “Suit yourself, why is ‘happy Halloween’ okay? It isn’t Halloween either.”
On that note we officially headed to the final house without our referee. It was news to me that Eli was afraid to come off as a Jew. It may have been true though that Stanford would have frowned upon a potential student taking part in mocking Judaism. It wasn’t like we were going to do a Mazel tov dance on the doormat though. The house we targeted appeared to have all of the lights off and we more or less expected that no one was home. Our gut instinct was not entirely correct, as we quickly learned Mel Gibson (see also: short tempered man) was lurking in the dark.
Clown group: “HAPPY HANUKAH!!”
Mel Gibson: “Are you kids fucking serious? Do you not realize some people are trying to sleep?”
Fred: “From the looks of your house it seemed like you were definitely awake!”
Mel Gibson: “Okay smart-ass, if you don’t get off my property I am going to beat the shit out of all of you.”
The guy seemed disturbingly serious. I wouldn’t have put it past him for a second to attempt to throw down with a group of high school kids. It wasn’t the first time that a guy going through a midlife crisis verbally threatened to smash his fist into our faces. Luckily for Eli he was waiting at his car while we were being verbally assaulted. Eli may have shit his pants if he was standing up on the doorstep with us.
Fred: “Okay guys, this man hates Jews, we shall leave the premises and light the menorah.”
Mel Gibson: “And if I ever see any of you fucks in my neighborhood I am calling the cops.”
Fred: “Dennis Rodman hangs around here quite a bit so expect to see him soon.”
It is unfortunate that Colorado has a make-my-day law. Technically the guy could have mowed us all down with an AK-47 and got off free by claiming it was self-defense. We listened to the asshole and got off of his property. Take this as a warning for people thinking about shouting Happy Hanukah rather than Halloween, we received a 0% positive reaction using that greeting. It was great that Fred was with us, as I don’t think I would have been able to respond to Mel Gibson without wanting to cry. Fred was an expert at being a smartass to people whom we were supposed to respect. Mel Gibson was a sorry excuse for an elder, especially given all we wanted were a few pieces of candy and a good laugh. We wanted a good story to tell other people. Personally I would take a group of costume wearing high school kids pretending to be Jews at my doorstep over two Mormons wearing bike helmets any day of the year. When we got back to the car Eli could tell we had been discouraged by the final house of the night.
Eli: “What happened?”
Johnson: “The guy was anti-Semitic, I think he wanted to kill all of us.”
Eli: “Maybe we should just call it a night. It is probably kind of late to be doing this, people might be sleeping.”
Fred: “You know. I bet if someone was dressed up as Jesus and we had a few cheerleaders with us we would have much more positive results.”
Sean: “Imagine if we were doing this in a shitty neighborhood though, we all probably would have gotten mowed down by a Tommy gun or something.”
I sometimes wonder what would have happened if we were all dressed in bicycle helmets and white shirts. What would have happened if we were all females dressed up like slutty anything’s? What would it have been like if we were all midgets? Or if we were all celebrities. The point is that anyone can go trick-or-treating whenever they feel like it. In fact, if you have no plans tonight I recommend gathering some buddies and throwing on some different personas. You could end up having one of the most entertaining nights you have had in a long while.
Obviously all of the houses we visited that night were not written about and it was just a select few that stood out from the rest. We did each end up with at least something in our pillowcases, which is proof that some people really are good sports. Overall though I must admit it really is a shame that we only formally celebrate the devil once per year. Just with how popular obesity is in America, you would think Halloween would be at least a once-a-month event.