Bad actors spoil Halloween fun

Samanthe Kadar had a bad news trick-or-treat story to report in her letter, “Halloween night falls short of its ideal,” which appeared in the Sunday edition of the News-Press/Leader on Nov. 6. She wrote about “rampaging mayhem” in the Rossmoyne-Mountain and Kenneth Village-Highland neighborhoods.

As I sat down to write a rebuttal, I thought I had a good-news story to tell. I live on Hollister Terrace in Glenoaks Canyon, where many of the residents had gone all-out with Halloween decorations. My wife and I settled for one lonely, but creatively carved, Jack O’Lantern with a glowing candle.

My wife enhanced this meager gesture by sitting on the front porch wearing black clothes, a witch’s hat, and a broad smile. She handed out candy to 350 trick-or-treaters before we ran out and shut off the lights at 8 p.m. If our supply hadn’t run out, we could have accommodated 500 callers.

Meanwhile, I did my part by controlling our dog. I roamed the street, surrounded by a crowd of happy, chattering youngsters and their accompanying adults. A festive, carnival atmosphere pervaded the street. Even the dogs behaved themselves.

The next morning, I found no evidence of damage to anyone’s property, and there were surprisingly few candy wrappers left behind. I began looking for an opportunity to share with others my elation about an unscripted, homespun celebration that had been such a thumping success.

I decided to write about it in a letter to the News-Press. But that soon changed.

Unpleasant news came at a local restaurant when my wife and I ran across neighbors who live two blocks up the street, where they had provided one of the most spectacular Halloween decorations in the canyon.

They said that everything had gone well on Halloween night, at least until they went to bed. The next morning they found that troublemakers had been at work while they slept. Much of their masterpiece was gone and the rest had been tampered with. Moreover, they learned that their neighbors had suffered the same experience.

When I asked what they would do next year, the wife replied that she would try to figure out a better way to secure her work, but that, otherwise, she would be decorating with the same enthusiasm once again.

I like that spirit. There is too much good happening on Halloween nights in our neighborhood to let a few bad actors spoil the fun.

Gerry Rankin


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