Last year, my wife and I bought a new house. Having moved into a new neighborhood, for the second year in a row, we truly enjoy arguably the best part of Halloween: trick-or-treating.
Our previous house stood on a busy street where only a few parents would allow their kids to go to. Only our immediate neighbors and our children's friends used to show up at the door — to the great grief of my wife, who, being the typical Russian woman that she is, always bought more candy than we could possibly distribute. Unused stuff polluted the house for weeks thereafter, as our kids preferred to digest their own, hardly earned, trick-or-treating loot.
Our new house sits in a cul-de-sac in a quiet upper-middle-class neighborhood near Boston. Last year, we were almost taken off guard by the number of trick-or-treaters who chose to ring our doorbell. The flow of visitors fortunately stopped at the moment when my wife was emptying the very last pack of candies and we were frantically counting $1 bills to cover for the rest.
This year, we were fully prepared. Seven 12-ounce packs of Milky Way (three), Snickers (two), and Crunch (two). $10 total expense.
I didn't count the number of trick-or treaters last year, but it feels like yesterday, there were more kids. No, I'm not rushing into speculation that this increase has anything to do with the ongoing economic crisis. But I did wonder how many moms and dads of our visitors have been already affected by the wave of layoffs in Massachusetts.
As a person working for an Internet company and as a blogger, I'm used to counting "visits." So here are the stats of my personal Halloween 2008: 11 visits, 40 kids. Four witches, three princesses, three clowns, three soccer players, two cats, two pirates, two Spidermen, a mouse, a Devil, a soccer referee, a Sandy from the "Grease" (my wife complimented the girl's costume and suggested to take more candy. She did with a remark: "A good costume pays off"), a Mummy, a Star Warrior, a thief, a "Halloween costume" (whatever it means), an alien, a ghost, a "happy" (whatever it means), a cheerleader, a "living death" (whatever it means), a vampire, a Dorothy from "The Wizard of Oz", a "vampirish girl" (as explained), a sorceress, and a ghost bride (a beautiful, most likely real, bride's costume). Also three accompanying adults: a Captain Cook, a Darth Vader, and an Elvis Presley.
As the night progressed, I had a nice feeling that for the first time in weeks, the real monsters of the world – the Obamas, the McCains, the Sarah Palins, and the Putins — were far-far away from me and my family. It felt wonderful.