There’s this Halloween tradition in the suburbs called “Boo-ing.” I’ve attached a copy of the note (go to http://www.beenbooed.com) that anonymous revelers leave along with the treats on your front porch, Ding Dong Ditch-style, that pretty much explains it all. I don’t care how it came about; I simply find it awesome that people leave candy for me right on my front porch. I hope that once day the girl scouts will start doing it this way with their cookies. And I wish they would do it during the day instead of at night when all of my pesky kids are around to lay claim to the goodies. But I’m also considering cutting my doorbell wire.
We got Boo-ed a couple of weeks ago. It was dark out and Kid B had just come home from soccer practice. The boys were already in bed. I have no idea where A and C were… I tend to lose track of a few them as the night goes on. Eh, they’ll come back home when they’re hungry.
I am a grouchy old lady, so I turn my front porch light off early in hopes that it will deter any late night visitors. Most people ignore this, so I was not surprised when I heard the doorbell ring after 8 p.m. Kid B answered it and proudly announced to everyone and no one that we got treats. I just crossed my fingers that the boys (a) didn’t get woken up by the doorbell, and (b) did not inherit my sixth sense about chocolate being anywhere within a 50-foot radius. Luckily, the boys stayed in bed. Luckily, we had candy in the house (not for long!). Unluckily, now we had a job to do. The very next night we had to go Boo some neighbors.
“There are three things I’ve learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.” – Linus Van Pelt, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
I don’t know if you have ever tried to do anything stealthily with little kids, but I can assure you it is next to impossible. Remember, Boo-ing is supposed to be done anonymously so you have to leave the basket of goodies and skiddoo. This created several technical difficulties for us.
Obstacle Number One: My youngest kids go to bed by 7:30, when it is still kind of light out. That meant that our mission had to be carried out without them (yeah, right) or at dinnertime in the daylight with the hopes that the recipients take at least ninety seconds to get up from the table and come to the door, so we would have enough time to run out of sight after we rang the bell.
Obstacle Number Two: Little kids can’t run very fast, no matter how much you yell at them. They aren’t very quiet, nor do they follow directions until they are given to them umpteen times. They also don’t react well in situations of panic.
Obstacle Number Three: Who to Boo? I never knew that these kids had so many “best friends.” Where are these so-called best friends when there’s heavy lifting to be done, huh? I immediately narrowed the list to one house. Boo-ing rules be dammed. This was going to be crazy enough once without having to do it again.
So with a basket full of Halloween candy and a “You’ve Been Boo-ed” note, we finally headed out into the pre-twilight to accomplish our mission. The house we had agreed upon was at the end of our street so we decided to drive most of the way down for a quicker getaway. But not in my (highly identifiable) XL truck. We opted instead to take Kid A’s car, which fewer people would recognize, and hide it behind some bushes. We mapped out a plan so that everyone got to partake in the fun, while also attempting maximum potential for a clean escape. When we got to the house we saw that both parent’s cars were in the driveway and the garage door was open, indicating they were most likely at home. It was on.
Kid A stayed in her well-hidden car, with both back seat doors open and ready for the quick getaway. Kid C held Kid E’s hand along the front walkway so he wouldn’t have to maneuver up or down any steps (face plant on the concrete driveway, anyone?) during their escape. Kid D had the biggest and most important responsibility of carrying the basket to the porch and dinging the dong. I stood at the end of the driveway to watch everything go down (that’s when I realized that Kid B wasn’t even with us… oops). After a minute or two of absolutely nothing I whisper-yelled to Kid D, “Ring the bell, dummy, so we can ditch!”
Several things happened at once. Kid D jumped off the porch. Kids C and E spun around to hightail it out of there, but C was giggling and E got confused and ran in the wrong direction. D and E collided somewhere along the driveway, but they quickly recovered and everyone headed for Kid A’s car. They made good time, but they were so pumped up from their caper (or the body slamming) that they went in one back door and exited the other one. Twice. Finally, I was like, “Get in and stay in!” and we sped away. With Kid E in the middle back seat yelling, “I’m not hooked!” I asked Kid D if he heard them coming to the door after he rang the doorbell. His answer, “I don’t even know if I actually rang the bell.” Awesome.
This morning parents and kids were in our driveway waiting for the school bus. Today was also my day to drive for pre-school carpool, so Kid E and his friend were running around all of the elementary school kids. They kept running to our front porch and then back to me, laughing hysterically. When I asked what they were doing, Kid E announced to everyone (in his little boy, lispy speech) that they were “practicing the ‘Bing Bong Bitch,’ I mean the ‘Ding Dong, Bitch'” so they would be better at it next time. Double awesome in front of a school bus full of kids.
Wish me luck for tomorrow…