This Halloween has progressed with much less drama than last year. (See my Halloween blogs in the 2004 archive).
First of all, it was raining at a steady pace. I got home from work after my wife and daughter had gone out to see friends, and prepared for my vigil in the doorway with my cauldron of candy, waiting on trick-or-treaters to arrive.
After 45 minutes none came. Even the dog was bored. It was quiet and depressing in the house, so I thought I would liven things up by putting in the DVD of the original FRANKENSTEIN to enjoy while I waited to pass out candy.
I put the DVD into the player to warm up, deciding to change out of my work clothes into something more comfortable. I would make some supper and watch the movie after a while, listening for the doorbell. So I left the TV off while engaged with wardrobe change.
What I did not realize was that the stereo receiver had been left on for some reason, and the volume was up pretty loud.
As I stood in the downstairs bathroom in my skivies, the DVD had cued up past the FBI warnings and into the main menu screen, even though the TV was still off in the next room.
The house was deathly quiet; the dog slept fitfully.
An enormous crash of thunder (in Dolby surround, no less) and the groaning of Boris Karloff quaked through the house and quite nearly sent me into cardiac arrest. With only one leg in my jeans, I was so startled and off-balance that the din sent me careening onto the floor with a smart, my head narrowly missing the toilet. And just as began to recover, realizing what it was that had startled me, the doorbell rang, loudly and unexpectedly, sending me flailing again and into yet another panic as I was at the moment both shirtless and pantless and unable to receive children in their Halloween garb begging candy.
I hurriedly dressed, and greeted a 12-year-old witch with an umbrella at the door. I had dumped a few Blow-Pops and Dum-Dums into her bag before I realized my sweatshirt was on inside out.
I turned my shirt around and put on my sneakers, settling in front of the TV to enjoy James Whale's remarkable 1931 film.
I had only one other trick-or-treater: a woman whose age I would estimate at about 25, costumeless, out in the rain gathering candy for her two-year-old who had a cold. She showed me a photograph of her child in a lion costume. He was terribly cute. I gave her a half-dozen Blow-Pops and some Bazooka Joe.
It was only later that I remembered seeing the same photo of the child, in a lion costume, in the October issue of Martha Stewart's Living.