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The Observer, Nov. 8 

ON A ROLL:
  • ON A ROLL:

We felt like being a total Scrooge this year for Halloween (if that combination works, Scrooge and Halloween). We know, we could lose our street cred with the pagans if we don't keep up, but ... we jes' weren't into it.

We've been house-and-pet-sitting for a friend, and the idea of polishing off the half-magnum of Yellow Tail and watching some History Channel until we drowsed off, letting the beasties roam without us, sounded fine. Who trick-or-treats anymore?

Right.

The “ding dong!” frightened us. We made the mistake of leaving the porch light on.

They were cute and came in droves. Little faeries and karate men, Transformers, and some that just put whiskers on their faces. We saw them and they, peering through the front window, saw us. With their little beady eyes they were asking Where the Hell We Were With Their Candy.

My friend had left us no candy, and we had no inclination to drive anywhere. But though we're a Scrooge, we could not let them leave empty-handed.

What to do? We looked through the cabinets. Cough drops? Better not.

The fridge had some Capri Suns and string cheese. Bingo. These were basically non-perishable items. So we dropped them into their bags.

One girl voiced, “I gots a DRANK!”

That was a mistake. Before we could turn the porch light off and hide in the darkness like an escapee, they came again ...

100 Calorie Oreo package and a Sierra Mist. We were getting pretty good at this!

Finally they went away.

It was like Halloween at the General Store. We're sure next year they'll just pass on by.

***

We had a first this year. A teen-aged trick-or-treater who never got off her cell phone during her entire encounter with our bowl of candy. We just stared. But our brassier neighbor hollered, “Give me your phone! I want to talk to your friend!”

***

For the fourth year in a row, the folks who live near the intersection of Hill Road and Midland Street let loose their pumpkins down Midland, on a block so steep that its residents must rappel down it to reach Kavanaugh.

It's not organized vandalism, a post-Halloween trick by a neighborhood on a sugar high, but a fund-raiser for Camp Aldersgate. Not so fast, vice patrol; it's a game of skill. Prizes go to those whose pumpkins roll the farthest.

Some jack-o-lantern bridesmaids crossed Kavanaugh (a guard was posted) and continued down Midland toward Lee, caroming off the curbs. A rolling gourd gathers no moss, but it will splatter to mush on occasion, yee-haw!

***

The Observer doesn't know exactly how well this will go over with the folks at the Little Rock Fire Department, but last weekend, we bought one of those fire bowls. You've seen them at all your finer retailers: big metal bowls on scrolly steel stands, ridiculously expensive for what amounts to an oversized hubcap and always pictured on some Martha-Stewart-esque patio with a fire happily crackling away inside. While our bowl doesn't look quite so picturesque on The Observer's rather lumpy patio, it does the job well. We've always been something of a closet pyromanic, though it's an urge that has been largely stifled by our life in the city. Given that, as soon as we got our bowl home, we had to bust up some far-wood and start a little blaze.

Soon, we were chilling with our inner Neanderthal, the family unit sitting around in lawn chairs, staring into the crackling flames, all of us safe for the moment from saber-toothed tigers and Grendel and all the other monsters that haunt the dark. If only we'd had a little mastodon haunch to throw on, the moment would have been complete.

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