When I was a kid, pre-Halloween was a time for us to get in touch with our inner thug. I grew up on the mean streets of southern Connecticut, where we had something called Doorbell Ringing Night. At best, kids would simply ding dong ditch the neighbors the night before Halloween. At its most nefarious, car windows were soaped and trees were toilet papered. Bratty kids is what we were.
It was all sort of a warning to the neighbors: if you don’t give out candy on Halloween, you can expect worse. Much worse. If this sounds a little like The Sopranos, well, the town did have a very solid Italian contingent
Eventually I ended up in lovely Wellesley, and braced myself in late October for karma to come and get me and my family. Instead, karma has left me alone, for now. What my family ended up with was a completely undeserved introduction into a lovely tradition called ghosting. Our doorbell would ring, I’d spring up from the sofa and sprint to the front door, ready to catch those damned kids and give them what for for soaping my windows or egging my house, or toilet papering the sugar maple, only to see the offenders way too far off for me to catch, cackling away.
I looked down. A bag. I nudged it with my foot, knowing in my heart that it must be filled with worms, or rotten eggs, or dog excrement. But no. This bag was filled with candy. I gave the candy a poke, knowing in my heart that it must be filled with razor blades, or rat poison, or LSD, but no. It was actual, untampered with candy. The gift was accompanied by a sweet note, written in sonnet form. The ending couplet was clever.
Our hazing was complete. We had been ghosted, Wellesley-style.
Fast forward to 2015. I’ve been an enthusiastic member of the ghosting community for over 15 years. I put a lot of thought into just the right candy to put into the ghosting bags. And I hardly ever soap windows anymore. But just when I thought things couldn’t get any more wholesome/weird in this town, well, another think coming is what I’ve had. Ghosting, a kids’ affair for its entire venerable history, has been turned on its head.
There’s a new tradition in town, and it’s called Adult Ghosting. It is just as kooky as it sounds. Here’s how it all went down at our house.
There I was, just another week-night before Halloween, lolling around upstairs watching SNL on the DVR, when I heard it: the doorbell. By now, I know the drill. Run downstairs. Pretend to try and catch the ghosters. Yell out, “Thank you!” as they gleefully take off down the street on their way to ghost their next “victim.” I’ve come to expect it. I’ve gotten soft.
But suddenly, I feel my edge returning. I credit Adult Ghosting, with it’s whiff of naughtiness and endless creative possibilities. There’s this feeling that anything might happen. I can’t predict how crazy things might get, all I can tell you is that at our house, we’ve been Adult Ghosted, and it was fabulous. Here’s a rundown of the swag we got in the bag:
A Super Glow baton
A pink-edged bib proclaiming, “i’m cute”
A 6.8 ounce bar of Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate
A package of self-adhesive moustaches
Two bottles of beer
A candy cane, still in its plastic, with the bottom half of it snapped off
A green tomato
A margarita glitter sticker
A plastic fluffy feather hairband
It was all bagged up in a Victoria’s Secret bag, and included a VS gift certificate. Of course.
Heavy is the head that wears the plastic Fluffy Feather Hairband. We must now pay things forward and Adult Ghost our victim of choice. Beware. Things are about to get very silly around this town.
Also of interest: Wellesley Halloween Happenings, 2015