This year, Halloween needs a government bailout

With the recession deepening, I won’t be giving out Godiva chocolates and truffles anymore. Think sunflower seeds, one at a time.

Attention everyone up and down the street. I have bad news for our neighborhood kids and there’s no use putting it off. My purpose in issuing this official statement is to head off shock and disappointment for all ghosts and goblins who have come to expect great things at my house on Oct. 31.

Simply put, the party’s over. Like a candle in the wind, my tradition of making trick or treat bigger and more spectacular every 12 months has been snuffed out by the cold rush of a downward economic spiral.

I know this will be a huge letdown for everyone. We had a record turnout last year, including lots of first-time visitors attracted by the searchlights I rented. I was negotiating to bring in several more of them this time around, and get the local TV news people to do a live shot, but all those plans have gone dark.

Say goodbye to the red carpet and velvet ropes. They gave the driveway a real caché, like a Halloween version of Studio 54. The bouncer I hired, Bruno, did a great job working the crowd with his clipboard. I loved to hear the kids scream when he picked someone out of the line and said, “I don’t see little Dracula’s name on the list here. Do we have a problem?”

Bruno almost cried when I told him we wouldn’t be reprising that part. But I said it would be OK for him to keep it listed on his acting résumé.

The “all pets welcome” policy is history. I had to special order those meat-and tuna-based gummi bear treats from a vendor in Bulgaria who stopped answering his phone about a month ago. We had a lot of memorable costumes over the years, and my personal favorite is Sally Smith’s toy poodle disguised as Bette Davis in “Whatever

Happened to Baby Jane?”

Here’s some good news: I’m not going to cancel my policy of repeat visits. Trying to score extra candy is practically a rite of passage for America’s youth. But there will be a major condition this year. Anyone who feels like coming back for a second helping must return wearing a different outfit. Show me you’re willing to put out some extra effort and I’ll add some extra weight to your goody bag. That’s my New Deal.

Anyone who takes up my offer will have to settle for a modest return. No more Godiva chocolates. It’s the end of an era. Those truffles in the treat bowl gave my front porch true elite status, but from now on the candy train will be supplied by bargain bags from the supermarket.

Oh, the jack-o’-lanterns, they’ll be my job this year. The students I’ve been paying from the local arts college to create those marvelous lawn displays have all graduated. The guy next door told me pumpkin-carving is nothing to get scared about. I sure hope he’s right.

Jeffrey Shaffer writes humor from Portland, Ore.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.