Bitchy Bertha sometimes takes an interest in questions asked of Dear Abby. Since Halloween has passed and her advice can’t do any harm Bertha is responding to a Halloween themed Dear Abby question:
I am a retired widow, crippled with rheumatoid arthritis. Every October, I start dreading Halloween, which I consider to be a legal form of extortion.
Living on Social Security, I really don’t want to waste money for candy. Also, it is difficult for me to get up and down every five minutes to hand out candy. Too many of the “children” are 16- to 19-year-old males.
I have tried keeping the lights off and “hiding” in my bedroom, but I wake the next morning to find toilet paper in my trees and shrubbery. Once, my front door had been sprayed “Stingy Old Witch.” The police said they couldn’t act because I didn’t see who did it. Of course, even if I had seen them, they probably would have been in a costume. Do you have any suggestions?
I disagree with Dear Abby on this one. No one should have to participate in a holiday that doesn’t resonate with them. Abby suggested you buy cheap candy and put a bowl on the porch that says “take ONE.” Are you kidding me? You might get one or two kids that are with their parents who would take only one candy. But the first uncostumed teenaged boy that shows up is going to tip the entire bowl into his bag and take off.
Here’s what I would do: Ask a man or older teen to come sit on your porch that night. Ask someone you know to come sit on your porch with a camera and a high powered flashlight for the evening. I’m sure you could find a willing body – one of your grandchildren or a neighbor’s older teen.
Turn the lights out on your porch, that is the accepted sign that you are not home for trick or treat extortionists and most people will pass your home by. When someone does come up your walk your porch sitting friend can either take a flash photo, which should startle the intruder (and ascertain his/her identity) and send them packing. Alternatively or in alternate turns your porch sitter could flash the bright flashlight into their faces and yell “Get out of here,” thereby scaring the bejesus out the intruders. Anyone welding toilet paper and spray paint gets a photo taken.
If you are feeling brave you could even dress up in a scary costume and do it yourself.
A couple Halloweens like this and one of two things will happen: either everyone will avoid your house at halloween because they know there is no candy, or people will flock to your porch just to be scared. Either way is a win for you. If they go away never to return you will have your peace without toilet paper and spray paint. If they come to be scared you will get the satisfaction of scaring the pants of people without having to spend your limited income on candy. See? It’s a win win.