That was the number of men, women, children and pets we had come to our doorstep in search of candy last night. An off year as far as numbers go but we made up for that with special effects.
The mummy was on the front porch, as usual, but this year we added spooky sound effects, dimmed the lighting and blasted all the ghastly ghoulies with a fog machine. Some of the smaller kids hesitated and even refused to come up the driveway (heh, heh). However, judging from the comments I heard, most of the kids appreciated the extra effort.
Julia didn't hit the streets. The girl was far too cranky for any kind of sustained Halloween nonsense. A little disappointing, maybe even a little sad, but not the end of the world. We'll take the $40 we paid for her black cat costume out of whatever birthday money she gets next year. The evening wasn't a total loss for Julia. She had her grandma with her and they celebrated the holiday by spending some time sitting in the dining room with the lights out. From there they watched the parade of costumes that marched up and down our front walk.
Allie begged for candy with her mom and grandpa. Allie's elaborate witch's costume was augmented with long underwear, pants and a purple hoodie. With the little broom in her hand she looked like a junior janitor with a penchant for goth inspired undergarments. We know each year her costume will wind up being a casualty of the weather. Why we don't just dress her up in something a little more practical and warm escapes me. . . Next year she's a polar bear. Year after that, a yeti. When she's seven we'll spray some black dots on it and she'll be a fuzzy Dalmatian. Make the spots bigger, add some horns and you've got a furry Holstein. That'll get her to nine-years-old and she won't need us for costume ideas any more.
It took Allie and her entourage about an hour to canvas the neighborhood. When she returned Allie sat on my lap and helped me hand out candy. She'd blast the halloweenies with fog and then drop a fun-sized Butterfinger in their bags. "There you go, little one. Happy Halloween" she'd say to the short kids. Allie stopped just short of patting the short kids on their heads as they said their thank yous and moved on to the next house. I'm sure the short kids didn't appreciate being patronized by a four-year-old. I suppose candy is candy and fortunately I didn't notice any signs of visible umbrage.
There was one little girl (couldn't have been more than three) who held her bucket out for a treat. We must have been her first house because the candy made a loud thump as it hit the bottom of her empty, plastic pumpkin. "I wan moh," she said. I dropped another piece in her pumpkin and smiled. Her eyes narrowed and she thrust her pumpkin toward me. "Feewit up!" she demanded. I was being mugged on my own front porch. Fortunately the girl's mother(?) stepped in and saved me before I had to call for help.
As we started to run out of candy I yelled at Debbie for grabbing a chocolate bar out of the treat bowl for herself. She said I was a grouch. If she knew about the Almond Joy I had in my pocket at the time, she would have called me a hypocrite, too.