I try to keep it simple for Halloween—answer the door and deliver the goods. Anything else usually causes me trouble.
My most memorable Halloween came years ago when I was a student at WVU. My roommate, Mark, and I dressed up as two of the Marx brothers; I was Groucho and he was Harpo. We had great costumes and tried to stay in character during several stops at local bars.
We made a big mistake at the old Red Cellar on Beechhurst Avenue by walking on the tables and spilling beer on a couple of big guys who definitely didn’t get the joke. We spilled out into the street and Mark ended up in a fight with one of the guys.
The police showed up and there I was, dressed as Groucho Marx, trying to talk the officers into letting us take our not-so-funny schtick home for the night. We didn’t get arrested, but Mark ended up at the emergency room getting stitches over his eye.
Not too many years later I had the idea of dressing up as Jay Rockefeller. The costume was simple—a blue suit—but for effect I stuffed my pockets with a bunch of fake money to pass out. It was an election year so I went to the Rockefeller campaign headquarters in town and convinced them to give me some stickers and a funny straw hat.
I didn’t tell them the items were for a Halloween costume and I’ve always felt a little bad about that.
My biggest Halloween regret came when I was just a kid living in Summit Point. A friend and I decided to egg the house of a classmate we had fabricated some grudge against. We were caught and punished, as we should have been.
One year, Halloween just got away from me. I was young, single and working a lot and actually living in a neighborhood for the first time. It came as a complete shock when I answered the door that evening and there were a couple of kids dressed in costume.
There was no candy in the house and I didn’t have any cash on me. I panicked. The only thing I could think of was to offer to write each of the kids a personal check. They thought about it for a second and then politely declined.
But even now I occasionally foul up Halloween. A few years ago a young trick-or-treater came by our house dressed in buckskins, a coonskin cap and a toy musket. “Who are you, Davy Crockett?” I asked.
The poor boy hung his head. My wife quickly set me straight. Did I, of all people, really not recognize that the child was dressed as the Mountaineer?
Despite the many unfortunate incidents over the years, I actually enjoy Halloween, seeing the costumes and handing out candy. I’m just not very good at it.
Wish me luck tonight!