The candy is ready. Where are the goblins?

A favorite story revisited

By Dottie Rockel

Don and I have been married for 39 years and in all that time we have never had a trick or treater. We spent our first Halloween in an apartment building on a busy road with so many trucks grinding by that we never heard a complete 11:00 newscast the whole time we lived there.

We then moved to a darling Cape Cod on a cul de sac with five other houses two of which were occupied by octogenarians. The only neighbors with children strategically carted them off to go begging in other neighborhoods with well-lighted streets and houses in close proximity. Each year the costumed children toddled off with pillowcases that expressed their optimism.

Next we moved to a farm and from there to a home on five acres with no sidewalks. Now that we are in our dotage, we have a home up a 70º grade quarter of a mile long dark driveway that is hardly an enticement to Halloweeners.

Just like Linus who never gives up on seeing the Great Pumpkin, Don remains hopeful. Every year he prepares for the tiny goblins that have yet to ring our doorbell. He is in charge of purchasing our candy.

This year Halloween sort of crept up on Don and on Halloween afternoon he and the dogs and I piled into the car for the candy search. He asked me what the best place was to buy some and I suggested the nearby Dollar Store. He went in while we waited in the car and soon he returned empty handed.

"What's the matter?" I asked. "Don't they have any candy?"

"Well they do but they only have Milky Ways in a six pack."

"Surely you don't think we'll need more than that." I said.

"No. But I wanted to get those little bite-sized ones. I'll look at IGA and if I don't find them there we can drive up to Walgreen's."

I was astounded imagining that if some poor kid should trudge up our driveway they wouldn't even get a whole Milky Way. If their parents drove them up I feared retribution.

Don came out of IGA with a green bag of something. He tossed the bag to me as he got in the car. It was indeed bite-sized Milky Ways in red and green wrappers with snowflakes on them.

"Are these for Christmas?" I asked.

"Yeah, the Halloween display was empty." he replied.

The candies looked Lilliputian. Lots of glittery paper around the tiniest tidbit of Milky Way - the whole pack weighed 11.3 ounces.

"How many of these do you plan to give to each child?" I inquired.

""Two ….. or maybe three. What do you think?"

"It says here on the bag that one serving is five pieces so I'd probably start there."

"Well, if we do that we might run out."

I thought about it for a second then assured him. "Then it must be a comfort to know that we have two backup apples in the fridge."

As evening approached Don turned on the porch light as he had for the previous 39 years. By 8:30 no one had come to our door and feeling pretty sure they wouldn't, Don opened the Milky Ways and we began to eat a few. At about ten minutes of 9:00 I sneaked out of the garage and came around to the front door and rang the bell. First there was the bark of the dogs, then Don opened the door with a hopeful expression, a spot of chocolate on his chin, and 5 ounces of Milky Ways still left in the bag.

I think he had mixed emotions. Mingled with his disappointment was the dominant belief that the doorbell could actually ring and a trick or treater could really be there. Yes, Linus, there is a Great Pumpkin, at least at our house there is.

After trick-or-treater, read about humor writer Dottie Rockel.