I got to be a kid again, sort of, this Halloween. Two co-workers and I spent several hours out at the Grayson County Fairgrounds, handing out candy during Safe Spot.
Ours was an impromptu operation. We’d talked about it for several weeks, but some staffing changes contributed to a decorating breakdown. We only had ourselves, a News-Gazette banner and a patio table. Our candy bowl was a folding crate I happened to have in the back of my SUV.
I was the only one of us in costume: a scrub top, stethoscope and jumbo plastic needle transformed me into a demented doctor.
I had a blast, joking around with the kids and prescribing candy as the cure to their ills. Depending on their costumes, I’d offer shots to amp up their super hero powers, or to give them the flu. A few werewolves, cats and dogs received “rabies” vaccines, while a couple of terrified little ones received creepy clown vaccines.
My fellow candy dispensers, sports writer Don Brown and circulation/classifieds specialist Dossie Rankin, probably thought my behavior was over the top, but I didn’t care. I was having too much fun.
You see, for most of the last 14 years I’ve had to work on Halloween night, stuck in a newspaper office where the reporters and editors didn’t have much interaction with people coming into the building.
At first I didn’t miss buying all the candy and hearing the doorbell ring over and over. But there’s just an emptiness when there are no small children in your household during a holiday. If you’re taking kids trick-or-treating, or responding to the demands of costumed bandits coming to your door, you get to relive the magical times when you were a princess, or Pooh Bear, or GI Joe, and the entire night revolved around you.
The Safe Spot fun flashed into my mind at a Thursday meeting of the Grayson County Tourism Commission, where plans for the annual Christmas parade were being made.
“Hey, I could dress up like Mrs. Claus!” I thought. “I wouldn’t need any padding, and I wouldn’t have to put too much baby powder in my hair to turn it gray. It would be so fun to be on a float throwing candy out to … SCREECH!”
My mental brakes kicked in at that point. “Oh yeah. The newspaper doesn’t do parade floats. Rats.”
Seems like I haven’t outgrown the desire to have the entire night revolve around me after all.