Halloween was a big thing for the teenagers in the town where I grew up. Sales of toilet paper and soap increased exponentially at all of the grocery stores. These sales went to teens who had never been to the grocery store without their mom and mothers restocking their shelves at home that had been raided by their teens. The sales of toilet paper and soap paled in comparison to the sale of eggs. Egg throwing on Halloween was the favorite pastime of most teenagers in our little town and the surrounding community. As the local police force turned a blind eye to everything but the worst of hijinks, our fair city became a little Hershey’s omelet every October 31.
My participation in this annual ritual was limited to rolling the yards and soaping the windows of family members who would in turn roll our yard and soap our windows. I remember navigating the neighborhoods of my favorite aunts and uncles on crutches in the dark just to throw around rolls of toilet papers my relative’s treeless yards. TPing a yard doesn’t have the same effect when there are no trees for it to hang from and wrapping bushes just takes too long. As I got older, I would not join my friends as they went out each year. The natural progression would be to join my friends in the random egg wars that would take place on our city streets. Bands of teenagers wearing layers of old clothes would roam the streets in search of other groups of similarly dressed teens looking for opportunities for a little friendly warfare. If you were in a car, it was best that you get home as early as possible to avoid both friendly and unfriendly fire. Some groups would ride in old trucks to facilitate quick attacks and exits on the unwitting victims on foot. The most creative of the road warriors had sideboards and tarps on their trucks for protection. Each year saw new innovations and strategies. My strategy was to stay at home, eat candy and watch scary movies. Chronic respiratory issues and a general aversion to being pelted with food made staying at home more attractive.
I stayed at home on Halloween my senior year of high school. I was happy to be at home doing my own thing but a group of about 30 people that I knew was walking through our front yard and I went out to check in with them. It was still light outside. Usually the egg throwing groups wouldn’t crack up until the sun went down but everyone in this group had at least a dozen eggs each. While I was visiting with them, a pickup truck that was loaded down with what seemed to be 20 people drove by our house. Our house was on the main street through town. The truck was obviously full of egg throwers but they didn’t throw any eggs. As they passed by our house, it seems like everyone in our yard threw at least one egg at this truck and it sounded like every one of them connected with the side of the truck. The driver of the truck immediately slammed on his brakes and the truck screeched to a halt. The people in the truck immediately unloaded and ran into our yard to confront the group in our yard. One of my friends in our yard was football player at a major university who had come home just to throw eggs. One of the guys from the truck decided he wanted to be a hero and wanted to take on my football playing friend. He was also the only one stupid enough to try and start anything. The guy from the truck ran straight into my football playing friend. It was just like he ran into a brick wall. Then the football player gave the guy from the truck a fist in the stomach. Just enough to double him over on the ground. One of the guys from the truck in the back of their crowd leaped up and shouted “Do it again!” almost like a dare to the football player. I was amused by the guy in the crowd. He would probably be the last person to do anything. His friends were smart and they gathered their puddle of a friend and made their way back to the truck. My mom had been visiting with the people in the yard and she told everyone they should clear out and they did. I was invited to go with my friends but I decided to go back in the house and watch Frankenstein.
Singer, Songwriter, Entertainer, Storyteller