I'm home now, and safe. It was touch and go for a while there, but now that I'm warm and looking back on the whole ordeal, I'm thankful that I came out on the other side. We went trick or treating with a group of nine to twelve year-olds this evening, and there were moments when I doubted my own competence as a parent, an adult, and human being.
We were riding herd on a crew of approximately ten pre-teen boys, with various stages of commitment to the whole costume thing. We had a gypsy, a wizard, a werewolf, an alien, and even an Elvis impersonator. My own son was the legendary Jango Fett, from whom all other clones were spawned - to begin the Clone Wars. His accoutrements were so many and varied that he was inevitably the last up to the door and the last to race back down the sidewalk to catch his partners in crime.
"Dad, can you hold my blaster?"
"Dad, will you carry my jet pack?"
"I can't see when I run because my visor gets all fogged up."
Well, okay. Such is the life of a ruthless intergalactic bounty hunter.
We pressed on. I don't know how many miles we walked. The parents eventually limited their movements to only those absolutely necessary to the cause, staying on one side of the street as the kids worked the houses on both sides.
"Those guys were giving out Skittles!"
"Did you get Butterfingers?"
And so it went. Hours drifted by. Well, at least an hour and a half drifted by. Then cooler heads prevailed and we turned our gang back in the direction of the street where our odyssey began. Toward the end, some of the younger kids began to complain. It was dark. It was cold. And the comfort that their swollen bags of candy gave them had worn off several Milky Ways ago. All that was left was the slow trudge back up the hill.
Back inside, all the boys found a place on the floor to empty the contents of their bags, and the sorting began. Once categories had been established, some light bartering began. The trading was only half-hearted, since these kids knew how hard-won these treats really were. They had done the requisite begging, and now the spoils lay in a pile in front of them.
A few of us parental types guessed that each boy had probably bagged a couple of pounds of candy, and with the number of trick or treaters we had in our gang, we assumed our take was nearly twenty pounds. What could that bring on the open market? Better yet, what would it bring tomorrow on the playground?
I know that I'm going to be looking at the same awful Laffy Taffy a month from now, while the Hersheys and Three Musketeers will be long gone. Still, I know it's not the size, it's the principle. The treats have been acquired, and now the trick will be disposing of them.