I miss the full-on hedonism of the Halloween parties of my youth. I spent the day selling pumpkins to the students and parents of my son's elementary school. It was a pretty tame affair. There was no grain alcohol involved, so immediately the comparisons were few and far between. To be more precise, when I was in college I want to believe that we were in full-on bacchanalia mode. The Harvest Festival (more politically correct than Halloween) was a giddy good time, but no one was ever in danger.
What sort of danger am I talking about? There was a little game we called "If You Catch It, You Can Keep It." It was an homage to an old National Lampoon bit, a TV game show parody where audience members try to catch valuable prizes (including electric knives, dinette sets, even a house) thrown down from the top of the CBS building. I lived on the fourth floor of my apartment building. Some very intrepid high school girls called up to us from below, unable to gain entrance. "Hey girls," I shouted down at their upturned faces, "Want to play a little game?"
"Can you buzz us in?"
"It's called, "If You Catch It, You Can Keep It." I had a barbell set out on the balcony. There was about a hundred pounds on the bar.
"If You Catch It, You Can Keep It."
"Get ready, here comes your first prize opportunity, a deluxe weight training set from Sears!" Over my head, off the balcony, hurtling toward their dazed little heads, gaining speed with the acceleration of gravity. Four floors. In the dark.
"What?" Then shrieks as the weights crashed to the ground just in front of them.
"Oh, I'm very sorry girls. There will be no prizes awarded tonight."
Very quiet, then: "Can you buzz us in?"
They came for the Wapatootie Punch (with the big frozen fish ice cube), but they stayed for the casual abuse. Sometimes people ask me why I stopped drinking. Maybe you should ask some of these girls.