“The Guessers” By Chris Zito

One Halloween practice has joyfully disappeared. Guessing who is who under that mask. Nothing wasted more valuable candy collecting time than people who would drag you into the house and play twenty questions.

Little Suzie wasn’t trying to fool anybody.
She was trying to beat her “door total” from the previous year!

Kids mostly don’t wear masks anymore. The ones we wore when I was a kid, that cut off all peripheral vision making it dangerous to cross even the most secluded suburban street, are obsolete. Gone are the days when a kid’s face was covered with condensation caused by his own breath before he got half a block from home. Too dangerous. Some kid supposedly got hit by a car because he couldn’t see where he was going and now you have to keep your kid in sight and follow them around and carry a flashlight and suck all of the actual spooky out of Halloween or you’re considered neglectful. Neglectful? My mom didn’t know which one of was which once we put our costumes on.

Mom tried to tuck these neighbor’s kids in after Treat or Trick
one year. She didn’t get into trouble. She got a thank you note.

Some guessers were so bad we got to know which houses to avoid. Mrs. Adams was a horrendous guesser but she gave out these great homemade popcorn balls every year (Yep. Homemade. And we ate them. And lived.). Our only recourse was to take off our masks as soon as we stepped into the house.
“Well now,” Mrs. Adams would say. “Come in! Who have we here?”
Boom. Masks off. Not the most dramatic reveal ever but it got us the hell out of there. And gave a chance to dry off our faces.

“Sorry, Mrs. Adams but the last time I checked people only
gave out free candy one night a year. We have ground to cover.”

Let’s review my Halloween Do’s and Don’ts:

DON’T…make your house so scary kids will need therapy long after their Trick or Treating days are over.
DON’T…drag the kids into your house and waste valuable Trick or Treating time trying to guess who they are. These days you probably don’t know them anyway.
DON’T…give away school supplies instead of candy like Mrs. Varner did in my old neighborhood. I’ll never forget her. And never forgive her.

DO…keep the porch light on. And if you want to be like the Munsters, be Marilyn.
DO…hand over the candy and smile and wave and let the kids move on. They’re slowed down enough by having their parents with them.
DO…give away the good stuff. And get an extra bag of your favorite so you’re not as tempted to pillage your kid’s loot.

Thanks for reading. Tell your pals.
Chris Zito



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