The Flasher & Mr. Spock
This post originally appeared on Fangtastic Books on October 27, 2011. Many thanks to Roxanne for hosting me!
I have a little story to tell you a story now so, if it’s past noon for you now get a glass of wine or something. I’ll wait.
I grew up in the Dark Ages (the 1970s—remember that as we go along…the 70s) when Trick or Treating was definitely the ‘in’ thing to do. Everybody dressed up, kids and adults, everybody put out decorations and bowls of candy.
Black, white, Jew, Christian, Pagan…everybody, if you had two bucks you had a bowl of candy on your front stoop for Halloween. If you didn’t have money for a fancy costume, then your mom threw the worst sheet in the house over your head, cut out two eyes, put a pillowcase in your hand, gave you a pat on the butt as she told you to have fun and look before you crossed the street.
Like Thanksgiving, Halloween is a non-denominational, non-secular holiday. Everybody’s invited and welcomed with open arms full of spooky good cheer.
When I was very little, my Dad would dress up sometimes as he took me around the neighborhood. In later years, it was my boys and me who ran around these five streets grabbing up all the candy we could find.
When I was about six I dressed up as Mr. Spock—my favorite ‘Star Trek’ character—and my Dad took me out. Streaking was a big thing that year, everyone was doing it, including me! There were streakers all over the TV. ‘Laugh-In’ was a big show at the time. So…my Dad, good mild mannered hard-working man that he was–dressed up as a flasher. Yes, a flasher. He wore a fake nose & glasses with a big old rain coat, white long johns underneath, and he had a fake pointed nose and two balloons in a very, um, ‘strategic’ area. Did I mention he was a big practical joker, too?
Anyway, the deal was; for people we KNEW we both went to the door. For people we DIDN’T know, I went to the door, got my candy, said ‘thank you’ and, as I turned away, he would ‘flash’ them from the sidewalk.
I never heard so many people laugh so hard in all my life. I still haven’t.
Until we got to one house. By this time, it was the end of the night, the balloons were a little deflated (which made it even funnier! Really it was freakin’ hilarious, even at that young age I could fully appreciate what was going on.)
The homeowner was an very elderly lady who lived across the street and four doors down from us for…well, for forever! He went to the door with me. I rang the bell, the door opened, I said “trick or treat” and held out my plastic pumpkin for the candy. Behind me, my Dad ‘flashed’ the elderly homeowner who SCREAMED, dropped the candy dish!, shouted out a few obscenities that I didn’t understand, said my Dad should be “ashamed of himself doing such a thing with a sweet little girl in tow!” She slammed the door.
We started walking up the street shrugging our shoulders. My Mom—who loved her police scanner to death– came running out the backdoor with her hands flourishing motioning for us to hurry up, no more houses, get inside…now! We rushed in. The elderly homeowner called the police because there was a ‘flasher’ in the neighborhood! The cops came the street, we ran upstairs to toss off our costumes. The cops came to our door fifteen minutes later and that was the first time I lied to the police. “No, Officer, I didn’t see any bad men.”
I got extra candy that night! I think my parents and I laughed our butts off over it for a good fifteen years. Of course, Mom lightly scolded us each time as she laughed but…she laughed.
However, I don’t think of any us actually looked the elderly homeowner in the eye ever again.