Caught Short On Halloween


I love Halloween.

It’s my favorite US holiday.

But in the UK, it has been much slower to catch on.

Many years ago, before I’d really heard of Halloween, I got caught out.

Never again.

When I was a young, new homeowner and very, very naive, I opened the door one Halloween night and found three boys aged around thirteen on my doorstep.

They lunged at me with their face masks and pillow cases and mumbled something about tricks.

I immediately thought they were going to rob me but once I’d calmed down I got the impression they….wanted something?

We stared at each other for a few moments, them expectant, me frantic, mind whirring, eyes flicking from eyeball to eyeball, looking for a way out.

What was I supposed to give them?

More precisely, what had I to give them?

It seemed essential, as I started searching my house, to give them each the same thing to avoid squabbling although frankly by the time my search was over, I doubt they would have cared.

I possessed no candy, so I rifled my purse. No pound coins and I balked at giving them each a five pound note (about $8.) I had no kiddy things like books or squeezy balls that could have pacified them. I had nothing.

But then. I found.


Three of them, to be precise.

I walked back to the door, feeling slightly relieved that I had something to give them but knowing in my heart that from here onward I was going to be known as the ‘Batty Woman At No. 28.’

As I slipped my offering into their swag bags, I could see them follow my hand with their eyes. I bid them goodnight as I watched them turnaround and peer into their pillowcases as they walked away. I could only imagine what they were thinking.

This was twenty-seven years ago.

I haven’t eaten a tin of Heinz spaghetti since.

Have you ever got caught short on Halloween? What did you do? Or do you stockpile masses of candy? Let me know in the comments!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary E. Ulrich
October 28, 2010 at 5:17 pm

So you gave them a can of Spaghetti? They are probably still talking about that one. What a fun story. I love when you do the US vs. UK comparisons.
Mary E. Ulrich recently posted..Building Community: one grocery trip at a timeMy Profile


Alison Golden October 28, 2010 at 5:35 pm

I did. A can of spaghetti each. What can I say? I was desperate. 🙂


Barb McMahon October 29, 2010 at 11:15 am

The first year we were married, my husband and I completely forgot, turned out all the lights and hid in the back hall. Since then, we totally overstock.

We also sit on our front porch drinking red wine as we cheerfully hand out candy to small children. For some reason this seems to really scare the local parents. Imagine how much better if we gave out tinned spaghetti! 🙂
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Alison Golden October 29, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Yes, we had to hide out too, our first year. Never again.

LOL! That’s funny about you scaring the parents. I can totally envision that!

Thanks for stopping by. 🙂


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