Mom had to work on Halloween, so Dad fixed up our party. While it was still light out, five of my friends came over in their costumes. There were some carrot sticks and celery sticks for us to eat, which was kind of was lame, but Larry and Charlotte both ate some, so whatever. Anyway, we picked teams, two on each team, and Dad gave us each a list of what we had to bring back. Each list had 10 certain kinds of candy — like orange pumpkins with flat bottoms, or a peanut butter cup, or chocolate with almonds.
We used to trick-or-treat for everything we could get and send most of it to the soldiers. But it’s not good for them to get cavities, because how can they go to the dentist over there? Anyway, last year Annie and I made a rule, and we kept it again, even if Emily says it is fiendish. Because when we get to somebody’s door, if they’re giving out anything that’s not on our list, we have to say “No, thank you” and go to the next place.
But the other teams can still try, because even if some of the stuff on our lists was the same, some of it was different. For example, the first three houses Annie and I went to, they were not giving out a single thing on our list! But then Larry and Emily came to the same house right after us, and got the exact kinds of candy they needed. This happened three times in a row! It was a Halloween curse for us. But not for them.
Anyway, Dad kind of lurked around in back of us. His green hat glowed in the dark, in case we needed to find him fast, but nobody ever did. Charlotte and Moe’s team got their 10 things first, but did not stop going on porches — they just kept saying “No, thank you” because they like to blow people’s minds.
Then Annie and I finished our list and lurked with Dad until Larry and Emily were done. We got back home and each picked one thing to eat right then, and the teams went in different rooms to camouflage the rest of it. What you do is, take the eight things that are left and wrap them up in foil to disguise what’s inside. You know foil bends a lot. Annie and I wrap it so people will think it’s a whole different kind. Like, you take some little plastic pouch of candy corn and make the foil around it look like a whole regular-size candy bar in there. (Last year, we used paper bags and stapled them shut. That’s okay too.)
So then we put our wrapped-up things — there’s 24 of them now — into a bucket, and Dad mixes them up and dumps them out in the middle of the table. Now we each get to pick 2 things, and unwrap one of them. So you’ve got one thing that you know what it is, and one Mystery Item, and half of everything is still in the middle.
Charlotte and Moe were the winners of collecting, because they got done first, so one of them would get the first turn. They did heads-or-tails, and Charlotte won. Her unwrapped thing was red licorice, which she H-A-T-E-S, so she asked Emily to trade for a peanut butter cup but Emily was like “No way!” so she asked me and I traded her for my Crunch bar because I happen to love red licorice. So then it was my turn and I couldn’t decide what to do because that licorice was not leaving my keep pile. But when I looked around, there wasn’t anything I really wanted, so I decided to trade my Mystery Item for a different one from the middle.
When you do that, the Weighing Rule kicks in. It’s a great rule that Larry thought of. In the middle, I picked up every single Mystery Item one by one — there were 12, remember, and it when I got to the fourth or fifth one, Moe groaned like he couldn’t stand it any more, and then every time I lifted up another thing to test it, everybody groaned like they were dying. Dad said we were scaring the ghosts away.
But I picked the Mystery Item that weighed the most, and everybody knew why, because of one certain thing I was hoping for. But when I took off the foil, it was another kind of candy bar instead, and they laughed like hyena baboons.
Anyway, everybody had a chance to swap with another person’s Mystery Item, or the one they could see, or a Mystery Item from the middle. To start the next round, we all took another thing from the middle so there were only six left, and that’s when we started trying out new rules. This is going to be the best game ever, and Moe says next year his brother will make a movie and put us on YouTube!
Image by Steven Depolo