Before I get into the regular post I want to give the RIF related information that Susie asked for. I thought I'd post it here in case any of the other 4 readers want to pursue getting a program started in their school.
Reading Is Fundamental
1825 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20009-5726
toll free: 877-RIF-READ (877.743.7323)
Go scare up some great books for kids!
Ok, now forgive me as I strap on my old lady gear. I'm in my rocking chair on the front porch, flowered dress, apron, stockings rolled down around my ankles, gray hair in bun, bowl of candy in my lap, wagging my bony finger at the young 'uns coming across my porch for Halloween treats. Back in my day, when we went trick or treating, or "spookin'" (rhymes with book) as they call it where I grew up, we only went to the houses of people we knew. We ALWAYS said 'trick or treat.' People had to guess who we were under our costumes and we had to perform a trick (sing a song, tell a joke, do something funny or clever) before we got to have sweets and goodies dropped into our bags. Sometimes we were invited in for hot cocoa or popcorn balls. We also made our own costumes and said "thank you."
Flash forward to 1994 when I moved to the Poconos. A neighbor warned me in September that I had better start stocking up on candy now. I asked why and was told our neighborhood was the most popular one in the county for trick or treating. Then she told me she spent over $50 a year on Halloween candy to pass out. I thought she was out of her mind. I bought maybe 6 bags of candy, thinking this would prepare me for heavy traffic. I was blissfully unaware of the madness that would ensue.
The first sign of trouble was when I noticed the entire block out decorating all day. I don't mean just putting a few carved pumpkins on porches or hanging skeleton pictures on front doors. I mean elaborate displays. Graveyards sprang up in front yards. Zombies, corpses, skeletons, witches, and various other monsters came out en masse. Landscaping changed dramatically as spiderwebs, severed body parts, and dry ice machines created eerie scenes. Spooky music filled the air. People actually took the day off work to set up!
We ate dinner, got the kids costumed and the doorbell rang. It was a bunch of kids I did not know who stuck their hands out expectantly. "Ok, Happy Halloween." I said with a smile as I dumped a few goodies into their bags. No 'thank yous' as they dashed to the neighbor's house.
My kids were pretty small and a little freaked out by some of the more gruesome decorations in the area so Daddy the Protector walked them around the neighborhood while I stayed at the house to hand out candy. The next sign of trouble was when I had a line 20 deep waiting for candy. Crimony! I was new to the neighborhood, I didn't KNOW 20 kids that lived there. Why were parents letting their kids come to me? I could be an axe murderer or have laced the candy with drugs for all they knew!
Our house was a duplex. The guy who lived in the other half looked at my pathetic store of candy and asked if I had more inside the house. I told him no and he shook his head laughing. NOW, I understood. I had been handing out candy for 15 minutes and had about 12 pieces of my 6 bags left and now had a line that was 30 kids deep. When I plopped the last candy bar into a kid's bag and let the rest know I was cleaned out I thought there was going to be a riot! It was like a bunch of refugees pressing a UN truck carrying water and rice. The neighbor asked me to help pass out his candy since I had been wiped out. For the next two hours I sat as an endless stream of costumed kids paraded across our porch like a conveyor belt of items in a factory line. I was astounded.
Apparently every rural kid in the county gets dropped off in that neighborhood. There were easily 1000 kids running through there. I caught on and the next year started stocking up on candy in September. I also figured our, all on my own, what every one else does too. We buy dum-dum, smarties and other cheap stuff for the hordes of kids we don't know and save the candy bars and good stuff for the kids that live in the neighborhood.
We lived in that neighborhood for 10 years and moved to an outlying area 2 years ago. We get invited back by the neighbors so tonight we will dress up, drive to town and join the throng. Even though there is no time for identity guessing, silly tricks, or popcorn balls, my kids will say 'Trick or treat' and 'Thank you, Happy Halloween.' as they march around in homemade costumes. And with all the money I save on candy now I can put together some nice goody bags to take to the kids we know and still keep a secret stash for myself. Mwahahahaha!!!!!!!