When I was a little kid in North Denver Halloween was a scary time for me. Not because of ghosts and goblins but because of what my family made me do one Halloween. Instead of going trick or treating on this not-so-holy holiday my brother and I were sent up a big oak tree in the front of our house. Once there we would position ourselves on a sturdy branch and tie a rope around the part of the branch that was positioned directly over the pathway leading up to our house. On the end of the rope was a fake dead body.
Now, before I tell you want we did next, I need to explain that our house was a scary, large red brick home that was built in the late 1800’s. It looked like a haunted house. On Halloween, as it got darker and closer to trick-or-treat time, my uncles would crank up the scary music from a stereo facing the window on the upper floor of the house. And soon the parade of kids would begin to come down the street dressed as witches, monsters, Spiderman, Cinderella and such.
This was “back in the day” when helicopter parents didn’t hover over their kids. They sent their children out with pillow cases to make their candy collections and planned on seeing them a few hours later. This was true even in our high crime rate area in North Denver.
Back to the tree branch….
When night had fallen and my brother, the fake dead body and I were huddled on the giant branch above the pathway, groups of children would make their way down the block. Children would tentatively tip toe up the pathway to our big, scary looking home. When they rang the doorbell one of my bodybuilding uncles would quickly open the door and snarl like a monster. He would always be shirtless, fully flexed and donninig a scary mask.
Kids would alway run down the pathway toward the sidewalk. That’s when my brother and I executed our shameful duty. We dropped the fake dead body over the pathway in front of them right before they got there. The fake body hung on the end of a hangman’s noose right in front of the terrified children. Almost every time the kids dropped their pillowcases full of candy and ran home screaming.
That’s how I got my candy for a Halloween one year as a kid, gathering forsaken bags full of candy deposited for us below the old oak tree. Shame on me. Shame on us.
I often wondered why the parents of these children didn’t come back to our house to exact revenge. But now, looking back, I realize why they didn’t. Before my uncles came to Christ we were that home in that neighborhood that you just didn’t want to mess with.
Now that my family have all come to Christ we don’t scare the candy out of children anymore. We give candy…lots of it. And any candy we collect these days we earn it the old fashioned way, we send our kids out to collect it door to door, warning them not to approach any house that happens to have a huge tree out front.