Earlier this week, I was walking the dog and I came across the house of my new favorite neighbor.
I don’t know if he does this every year for Halloween, just started this year, or maybe someone new moved in and is distinguishing him or herself as the new neighborhood Halloween master. I’d never even noticed the house before now. Up until recently, the house next to it, the one closer to the main thoroughfare, was much more noticeable, mostly for being a complete wreck.
I don’t think I’m ever one to second-guess other parents … until Halloween.
On All Hallows Eve, I transform into Judge Judge-y MacJudgerson.
I am that mom. The one who cuts her kids off from trick-or-treating about the time they’re elbowing their way into puberty. I’m not following any developmental guidebook, and I haven’t looked up any studies on kids who later needed therapy because their moms put the kybosh on the candy corn prematurely. It’s just one of the many rules I was raised with that I have arbitrarily selected to enforce on my own progeny.
My own cut-off was sixth grade. Mom thought the age of twelve was awkward enough without shaking down the neighbors with a mask and a pillowcase.
I suggested just doing it for Halloween, but she wouldn’t budge.
So, by fifth-grade, I was one of those mature Hollywood starlets, nearly past her prime at an age anyone else would consider reasonably young, wobbling pathetically around the neighborhood in her pumps and shabby ball gown, jonesing for a bite-sized Snickers, knowing her time is limited.
Hell, even a packet of stale Whoppers from last Easter will work for someone just out looking for attention when the up-and-coming set is perfecting their pitchy “twick or tweeeeet!”
It’s not that I had a huge hankering for candy, but being officially ousted from the circuit was harsh.
But it got worse. In the years after I was no longer trick-or-treating, I was in charge of escorting my little sister.