When Jen and I bought this house, we looked past certain things, because the house had a lot of what we were looking for. There are four big bedrooms. There’s a greenhouse out back. It’s on 3/4 of an acre, and it has a good-sized backyard. We chose to overlook the abysmal condition of the plaster, the lack of modern electrical wiring, the substandard kitchen, and the leaky roof. We also chose to overlook the proximity to Frederick Road.
Being set up so close to the main route through Catonsville has a few advantages, none of which show up on Halloween. Because we’re not tucked safely into one of the secondary roads, most parents don’t bother to come our way on the big night, so we wind up with a bowl full of candy to make it through the howling chill of November. Each year I’ve tried to make this dump a little more friendly to the neighbors. Admittedly, the first year we lived here, the place was kid of run down. And last year, when the hedge out front threatened to swallow the sidewalk, it might have been a bit sketchy. But I carved pumpkins and lit them with candles, man! I lit the front of the house up and mowed the lawn. And the first year we were here, we had a grand total of about eight kids at the door. I was crushed.
Last year, I carved two pumpkins and lit the house, and we had about thirty kids. So I figure we’re making some progress. This year, Jen and I trimmed the shit out of the bushes in front and cleaned up the hedges, and made the place more presentable. I didn’t get any pumpkins for the front steps, but I bought some paper lanterns and put them out on the sidewalk, and lit up the house.
I don’t know if the people on the side streets get more kids or not, but I had a gaggle of about thirty in one shot at around 6:30 this evening. Other groups have shown up, and some stragglers have appeared, but I’d say we’re up to about fifty this year. And that’s not bad.
Addendum: Is it just a Baltimore thing for kids to get a HANDFUL of candy from me, then hold out their hand and ask for “more candy for their brother who isn’t here?”
Behavior like that used to make me unscrew the porch light and go down to the bar to drink beer, you miserable little shits.