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Knock Knock Who’s There?


A short and true story:
This past Halloween we seemed to be all but abandoned by children.  Most of the houses on one side of the street had no lights on and my side of the street has lots of trees.  I prepared my bowl of candies and set aside the treats for those kids who are sugar adverse or diabetic.  It had been an amazingly sunny warm day and when 5pm rolled around it was still fairly light.  No one came knocking on my door.

At 6:30pm, my partner came in the door and reported that down the hill from us and a few streets over, he had walked past numerous groups of children enjoying the adventure and the costumes.   Then suddenly the barking of Zip and a knocking at the door.   6:45pm and our first trick-or-treater had just arrived.  I grabbed the goodies; my partner snared the pup and we opened the door to a rather tall man.  A man with a bandana over his nose and mouth, a black felt hat; dark clothing which was covered by a long black raincoat stood on the porch.  I was taken a back as he said in a deep resonating voice, “Trick or Treat.”  I said you are our first guest this evening and stretched out my offerings suggesting he also take a glow stick as he had no flashlight.  His hand delicately took a small package of candy and then the glow stick and placed it in the bag.  He tipped his felt hat and said, “Thank you mam.”

As he left my partner said, “That was strange.”  And I replied that I thought I should have offered some of our warm soup and carrots as the fellow looked hungry, maybe homeless? Or was that the costume?   About 15 minutes later about 5 more children and their parents presented themselves at the door, all small and delightfully costumed; even later the UPS guy delivered my next book for review and I shared our treats with him also and then we were done with guests for the night.

My mind started trying to figure out the man on the porch.  It was amazing all the thoughts that raced into my frame and I want to share them with you:

  • Tall man who looks hungry
  • Delicate hand
  • Father trying to trick or treat for child who could not?
  • Teenager not ready to give up this practice – big for his age?
  • Someone checking out our house for possible later break in?
  • Foster child of our neighbor’s daughter, but not on a school night coming 2 hours for grandparents?
  • Fellow from the half way house down the street?
  • Pleasant eyes
  • Someone who took our license plate number from the big city trip and was checking out who were?
  • Gang member of a break- in ring – like the one that was stealing in Seattle but lived in Eugene, Oregon?
  • Did he go to every house?
  • He was hungry and just taking care of a need?
  • Delicate hands.

I shared my thoughts with my daughter who had experienced a tough day of teaching and thought I was nuts and just wanted to go to bed.

I found out that he had visited the music teacher next door also, and she noted that he looked hungry also so she gave him a whole handful of her treats.  She had about 7 treaters because several of her piano students made a special effort.

I decided that my mind was too active and that these were thoughts that were just growing out of control.  I would check my security lights and make sure all were working, and then I would just bless our house and keep it safe and open to all guests.  Welcoming.

I still wish I had offered him some of our warm soup.  He did look hungry.

Who do you think was at the door?  Why was he trick or treating?

Congratulations to Laurie Buchanan of Speaking from the Heart and Jannie of Jannie Funster.

Because of their fine stories on The Smartest Woman I Know – Ilene Beckerman, they will receive a free copy of this funny book from the author.

If you order anything from amazon from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket.

You might also enjoy reading these posts:
Broken Record
What Are You Afraid Of?
Lessons From the Dead

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17 Responses to “Knock Knock Who’s There?”

  1. Deborah Barker Says:

    How intriguing Patricia! Like you, I would be mulling this one over for some time. It is certainly a great story to tell. We didn’t get any trick or treaters this year (perhaps we are too remote or the dogs put them off) Of course, this tradition has travelled here from the US and is not adopted by everyone. When we lived in a cul-de-sac the children from that street would be allowed to visit all their neighbours so I’d let mine dress-up and join in.
    My daughter says she had prepared a bowl of goodies and some chocolate rice crispie cakes but no one knocked on her door either. Her husband had to eat the lot apparently!
    Deborah Barker recently posted..All because of BuntyMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    I think the trick or treating game is nearly over here – more parties this year because so many love to get all dressed up in costumes. I loved the little guy in Elmo suit and the 2 little girls in super hero garb and one fairy princess toddler…

    My Halloween as a child was so fun, with homemade treats and story telling by our neighbors – we knew everyone and they knew us….we were not trying to scare ourselves right off the planet

    Yep, the husband leftovers are a great treat at our house too!
    Patricia recently posted..Knock Knock Who’s There?My Profile

  2. Jannie Funster Says:

    I think all thoughts you had were natural and instinctive.

    My guess is for the overgrown teen. Some 13 and 14 year olds are HUGE.

    We have so few kids around we don’t even put out treats, tho I do decorate the house spookily. Kids these days head for the more populated “burbs.”

    Hope your daughter’s teaching is going better? It can be a tough tough job yes, one of the toughest, but most rewarding.

    THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH for me winning the book. I did SO hope to as it sounds like a fantastic read! And one of my best friends is looking forward to reading it when I’ve had my first go ’round on it.

    Have an awesome day! Cold here finally, yay!!


    Patricia Reply:

    My husband said that downtown was just full of children in costume going to the stores and businesses to trick or treat….
    My parents would not let us go out after I turned about 11, because carloads of children would be driven into our neighborhood and would throw jack o lanterns and were just plain mean spirits…. the neighbors started just putting card tables out by the curb and just handing out candy – individually wrapped…and we stayed inside with friends and carved pumpkins and played games…One year the police came and supervised and the counted over 500 cars full of children…

    We moved the next year and had a calmer cul de sac to explore and then on to Cleveland and an apt. building with no trick or treating but by then I felt too old.

    Things have to keep being reinvented to be relevant. ?
    Patricia recently posted..Knock Knock Who’s There?My Profile

  3. Jannie Funster Says:

    Oh, another thought — maybe it was someone you knew, funning you. My Mom and Dad used to do that a lot — dress up and go around to make people guess who they were. So much fun!! And of course, living in the same community all their lives with others the same, it made for a lot of fun. Especially when Dad dressed like a woman. He’s a smallish sized man, and with his wit and fun spirit could pull it off ace! One Halloween at a dance he went as a woman, and had EVERYBODY fooled. :) Yep, the apple did not fall far from the tree with me.

    Jannie Funster recently posted..Once In The Suntan Of My Youth — a poemMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    Guess the apple does not fall far from the tree Jannie!

    Sent your name and Laurie’s to the publisher – will not be long now until your copy will arrive – enjoy the book….the illustrations will remind you of some of your fun photoshop work…
    Patricia recently posted..Knock Knock Who’s There?My Profile

  4. Vered | Blogger for Hire Says:

    I have no idea! But it did occur to me on Monday, as I was accompanying my kids, that trick-or-treating is an interesting custom indeed – once a year we open ourselves to strangers (knocking on their doors, opening our door to them) – something we would never normally do.
    Vered | Blogger for Hire recently posted..To The Pre-teens Who Chose Not To Celebrate Halloween Because It’s UncoolMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    I see by the title of your recent post that you also experienced some pre-teen uncool notions about trick or treating! I will need to come over and read.

    I have two 13 year olds in my neighborhood that I made gift bags for because they thought they were too old – I put frozen cookie dough in and caramel apples, and gum and a pumpkin carving kit and YOUR yummy Pumpkin Pancake recipe in the bags….I think they liked it and felt included

    OH Vered, I hope I do not shock you, but I open my door to all who come year round…..the recovering offenders from the halfway house I talk to when I walk the dog and they stop and chat with me as I tend the garden…the Mormon boys ( I love to argue with them!) the Jehovah Witnesses ( one day I will get them to take a piece of my literature!) and the students selling magazines and encyclopedias….
    I speak to the homeless as I walk the lake – I just feel like people want to be seen and recognized. It is just something I can do to make the world a better place…
    I have to say when I visit the big cities, people come up and talk to me – at bus stops, on the metro….I try to be more careful, because my children are still freaked out and I want them to feel safe.
    I am thinking today that the fellow at the door was my treat!
    Patricia recently posted..Knock Knock Who’s There?My Profile

  5. Patricia Says:

    wow Creative Potager is giving away more of her stunning art here:

    lucky us
    Patricia recently posted..Knock Knock Who’s There?My Profile

  6. Laurie Buchanan Says:

    I think you were entertaining angels, unaware.
    Laurie Buchanan recently posted..Developing Thick SkinMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    Awesome thought Laurie…
    Patricia recently posted..Knock Knock Who’s There?My Profile

  7. suzen Says:

    Hi Patricia! Oh I love Laurie’s comment – angels. What a lovely thought!

    Hubs and I disappear on Halloween – went to dinner and then hung out at Barnes and Noble flipping thru magazines and chatting over tea. I personally hate Halloween. I took the kids to town when they were little to trick or treat at the stores or had parties. Since they’ve been grown, I do not participate. Just can’t force myself to buy and hand out colorfully wrapped poisons. If ever there was a “holiday” to throw away, this would be #1 on my list.

    I love love love Thanksgiving. It’s the only holiday we celebrate, the only holiday that make sense and has a purpose and hasn’t gone commercial with presents etc. though it’d be nice if we had that attitude of gratitude EVERY day!
    suzen recently posted..The Gooey Ick of Self-sabotage – Getting Unstuck from Your PastMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    I for many years thought I would love to get rid of this event. Then my children loved so much getting dressed up and creating costumes and carving pumpkins…they even liked cooking the pumpkin down for pies…

    So we tried to have parties and I always trade them for the candy for some other treasure – and often a new book. They did not mind

    Then I studied the deep history behind the evil spirits and the dark and looked a the Jewish traditions of my heritage and found a new ritual that works for me….about cleansing my fears and getting un-stuck from the past…I think we both wrote about this in previous posts.

    We have changed out Winter Holidays tremendously…quite a bit because our youngest child only wants money and does not really understand the “magic” of the event. She is a Madonna of a different sort!

  8. Val Says:

    A couple of years ago, I answered the door to some very tiny trick or treaters and didn’t have anything special to give them, so I ran into the kitchen, grabbed what I could find and gave it to them. Nobody’s come back since despite our buying some goodies each Halloween just in case. Can’t say I blame them, I seem to remember I gave them a couple of herbal teabags and an orange!
    Val recently posted..Nectar Ecstatic – free for you!My Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    Hello Val and thank you so much for dropping by…it is a real treat.

    I just heard of a family that trades all their children’s candy for other goodies…so it may not have mattered what you shared.

    Our neighborhood is dark with all the big trees and most small children are too small to want to venture down our way, so most of our small guests are friends who want to show off their costumes.

    The Conservative churches here too make it all about an evil experience and worshiping witches and the devil….so they can make the evening stressful also…one couple passed out anti- abortion pamphlets one year.

    I think it has a very important history and tradition connected to it – so I just celebrate in my own fashion and hubby loves eating the left over goodies…although that is very hard for me…I want to eat them! Oh well, the devil made me do it!!

  9. Sandra / Always Well Within Says:

    Hi Patricia,

    That’s a very touching story. It touches upon so many different emotions that we can and often feel. I’m moved by your warm heart and wish to help.
    Sandra / Always Well Within recently posted..October 2011 Review: Letting GoMy Profile

    patricia Reply:

    Welcome and thank you for your kind words…It was quite an experience but I learned from it too…

    My door is almost always open. I just spent 90 minutes in a Store talking to a friend about job hunting at “our age” it was so wonderful to catch up. All the clerks were listening in too so I gave them each a copy of my card….maybe I will get some treats myself! :)