When I was in the sixth grade, trick or treating was a big deal because I was invited–and allowed–to go with a couple of friends and stay out until late (8:30) without supervision.
We were very proud of our costumes. My friend Shanna was a cabaret dancer. It was a very cool costume. She had a top hat and a sparkly tuxedo jacket and a leotard and fishnets. I borrowed a spider costume that consisted mostly of giant black pipe-cleaner legs. It required explanation when I rang a doorbell:
Bewildered door-answerer: And what are you?
Liz: I’m a spider!
Bewildered door-answerer: Ohhhh. Here. Have an extra Milky Way, dear.
But then my costumes always required explanation. I don’t remember what the third friend went as. You just can’t compete for memory space against Shanna’s sparkles and top hat and my thrill over having a real costume instead of the sort of throw-together thing my family went for.
Liz’s Mom: Here, Liz, wear this old shirt of your father’s out of the rag bin. Look! You’re a hobo!
Liz: What’s a hobo?
Anyway, we were having a great time (translation: having a good candy haul that year) when the clock ticked past 7:30. That meant the parents out trick or treating with little kids were taking their kids home. Soon we we ran afoul of a gang of 7th grade boys. Here’s a what happened: they had shaving cream and were ten year old boys.
Shanna got the brunt of it. Her sparkles were like a hundred little targets begging the boys to nail her with shaving cream.
We made it back to Shanna’s house teary and dejected.
Shanna’s Mom: Girls! You’re back early. How was the… [eyes narrow. Lips compress.] What happened.
Three girls speaking at once: They were mean! They had shaving cream! It wasn’t our fault! They just attacked us!
Shanna’s Mom [crossing to the fridge and yanking it open]: Here. Hold this. [Hands closest girl an 18 pack of eggs.] Girls, get into the car. No. We’re taking the van. [She grabs a box of something and hefts it in the van, placing it between the front seats.] Okay. Everyone buckled in? [We drive in petrified silence to back to the street. There are muffled sounds of sniveling as we take stock of our ruined costumes.] Okay. Point them out.
Shanna: There they are. Those are the boys! See? The big one still has a can of shaving cream.
Shanna’s Mom [Slams to a stop. She opens the egg carton and grabs as many as will fit in her hands and starts pelting the boys]: Get ’em!
[We grab eggs, crowd at the back windows and hurl them out.]
[The boys run]
Shanna: Mom, we’re out of eggs. They’re running away!
Shanna’s Mom. “Hold on girls!” [Screeches forward in a three point turn and chases after the boys with the brights on.] “Take some apples!”
Shanna: Eew, these are the ones that went bad!
Shanna’s Mom [smiling for the first time]: I know. Get ’em girls!
Frankly, now that I look back on it, I find it was very generous of Shanna’s mom to teach those boys an important life lesson at such a tender age: Always remember how you treat a girl because at some point, you WILL meet her mother!