October 10, 2011


Haunted Houses don't faze me in the slightest.

Animatronic skeletons? Candy bowls with battery-operated hands? Teenage trick-or-treaters? Creepy, but not frightening.

Arguably the most scary part of Halloween for me is this poem:

And, more specifically, finding this poem--attached to a bag of treats--on my doorstep.

"Oh crap," I muttered when I opened the door on Saturday morning and saw the plastic pumpkin filled with candy.

My kids, of course, were thrilled.

Being neighborly doesn't bother me. Making a special trip to the store to satisfy the demands of the game (ie. booing two neighbors withing 24 hours) does.

On Saturday afternoon, I made two batches of pumpkin cookies. We ding-dong ditched the first batch to a family a few doors down. We were half way back to our house when the mom came tearing out of the house after us.

"Wait!" she cried. She tried to give the cookies back to me. "We've already been boo'd," she explained frantically. "We just haven't put our sign up in the window yet."

She shoved the cookies back into my hand. "Take them," she begged. "Please."

We dropped the second batch of cookies at the house of my husband's colleague, who lives a few houses down in the opposite direction.

The man came to work this morning and told my husband a horrific tale. "I found cookies on my doorstep on Sunday morning," he said. "And without thinking, I popped one in mouth. But then I realized that there were ants all over them."

I seriously wanted to cry.

My tears are justified for another reason as well. Last night at 9:30pm, our doorbell rang.

"Please no," I begged.

Much to my horror, there was a different boo bag with a similar but different poem attached to it.

Congrats to Renny for winning the $50 gift card to Office Max. Here's what she had to say about her favorite teacher:

"My sister in law is a teacher in Arizona. She teaches high school biology. She is in her second year of teaching, and she has to buy all of her own paper and supplies. No big deal, her husband is only in college for another year so she is the major bread winner for the family right now.

She is amazing and her students love her. In fact, one of her students made it into an article in the paper (The Arizona Republic) and he said his favorite class was biology!

Mrs. Jessica Reynolds- high school biology teacher extraordinaire!"


Janie B. said...

Boo!!! I don't like this either! In fact I keep a spare ghost drawing in my drawer and when Oct. rolls around I pull it out and put in the window so I don't have to participate! So far so good!! What a party pooper I am! ha ha

Mom of 12 said...

You would definitely hate me because we are one of those who like to start what we affectionately call "the phantom" on our street.

Unknown said...

Ah yay! Man, I love being a winner!!! Sorry about being boo'd, when I was a student at BYU I think we got boo'd (and variations for each holiday) about ten times per holiday.

Kristen said...

preempting the "boo-er" with your own ghost on the door is brilliant!!!!!!!

CSIowa said...

Gifts should not come with jobs attached, like the seed packet my in-laws just sent. I've decided to let the seeds stay in the packet and appreciate the thought.

The Mommy said...

Hmmmm...this sounds fun and annoying at the same time! I don't know if I love it or hate it...hahahah.

Janell said...

I definitely like Janie's idea of keeping spare Boo prints in a drawer to protect one's house each Halloween!

I'm that gal that would pick up what I'd been given and then shunt it off to the nearest doorstep. I don't have kids to intercept the treats though.

My Three Snakes and Snails said...

Now I don't feel so bad... because I hate getting "boo"ed! when my 3rd son was born on Oct 3rd, I was in no condition to carry out the deed! And to make matters worse, no one gave us a copy of the ghost to just put on the door, so it actually required me to make a copy, and I wasn't even able to do that! So, I must be dead inside, because we were "boo"ed 3 times... and I didn't try to reciprocate once!

The Mom said...

I'm soooo guilty of enjoying the treats, putting the ghost in our window, and then....nothing. I don't reciprocate. I'm awful, but we have so many people in our neighborhood that do this, I figure someone else will step up and do it! LOL

Donna said...

Wanna hear a secret? Sometimes we never boo anyone back. I think I'm following Janie's suggestion this year.

Anonymous said...

Years ago I was always the one in the neighborhood (or at work) who started the booing. Now I refuse to participate. Maybe it has something to do with turning 40?

One year when I started the boos, I made a plate of nice brownies and left them on my neighbor's front porch. Remember, I didn't have a boo sign on my door because I was the one who started it. The next night our family was booed-and we received the exact plate of brownies I had delivered the night before!
I'm also remembering when I was a kid, my family was attacked by the Family Night Phantom twice in one evening. My mom was so ticked.
Jenny in NC

No Drama Mama said...

Eeek! I'm with you, except I hate being neighborly! Why on earth would I want to be friends with people who know where I live and can easily assess whether I'm at home? Plus, then they want you to do stuff, like this! No, thanks!

Rachel C said...

Another "boo" hater here!
Seriously, as if I need another thing to do.

SusieG said...

I laughed so hard! THANK YOU! "Booing" reminds me way too much of chain letters and other scary things. Gifts should never come with manipulative demands.

A few year ago I got a plastic flamingo in my front yard with a similar note to pass it along. It was great to receive a sweet note from my anonymous friend, but didn't care for the strings attached. The plastic famingo now lives at the landfill.

Martha said...

I'm not the only one who eats the treats and never reciprocates? I totally feel justified now! I think I left my Boo up from last year. I wonder if it is still in my window...

Charlie Pulsipher said...

I'm so glad I live in a condo where everyone tries their best to ignore everyone else. This sounds horrifying.

Sherron said...

I usually cannot eat the treats that are given, so I will make a copy of the sign to hang on my door and then take the treat, to another neighbor. I HATE knocking and running, so I don't even knock on the door. Just set a plate of whatever was brought to my house on someone's doorstep and let them find it in the morning.

Melissa said...

These things always come at the worst possible time for me: major homework due, in charge of church party, guests coming over for dinner,etc. Then my children are heartbroken when I put my foot down and refuse to participate. If I'm too swamped to deal with it, there's a good possibility my neighbors are also. I think that if someone wants to spread Halloween cheer they should just leave treats. Period. The End.

Tami said...

I cracked up because we were "boo'd" a few days ago and have not had a chance to reciprocate. My son told me that now to make up for it we have to boo like 16 people....but, yeah, not gonna happen! I'll try to boo at least one other person for my son's sake, but, man, I do not look forward to it! On the other hand, last year, our house somehow got missed and my son was really sad...so you just can't win!

jeorgee said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE THE PHANTOM! It wouldn't be Halloween without a little bit of running around and ding dong ditchin'! I have three kids and we all enjoy it and my husband and I are just as keen as the little ones! We have been doing it for years! Get in the spirit, you only live once!

Jen said...

When they started it in our neighborhood I thought it was great - and then as the years passed it became a hassle - especially the year I had a 1 year old and was 2 weeks from giving birth to number 4. Each year I think maybe I'll start the damn thing to get it over with, but I never remember. I like the idea of having a spare ghost to post on the door :)

Christine said...

Thats hillarious! I've had to pick up goodies off someone's doorstep once when I found out a couple days later that they were on vacation...I could only imagine the ant fest that would've created. Hopefully your boo-ed days are over for this year :)

Emily in NY said...

Add me to the list of Boo Lovers! I'd ALWAYS wanted to live in a neighborhood where everyone was close (emotionally, not necessarily geographically...), and where there were loads of kids. So, when we were Phantom Ghosted 4 years ago, only a few months after moving here, I was ecstatic -- finally, real live children! Neighborhood spirit! Neighbors who actually speak to one another! Rock on!

We don't do edible treats in these here parts... more along the line of erasers, pencils, stickers, glo-sticks, etc... And I will admit that, that first year, it was a pain in the neck to race to the store within 24 hours to Phantom Ghost THREE houses. (Each successive year, I've hit up Target in advance, so I don't have to make the mad dash out on a random Wednesday...)

So, despite my loving the spirit of it all (yes, pun intended), the second year we were Ghosted, instead of just photocopying the poem and passing it along, I re-wrote it (yes, correcting grammatical errors and fixing spots where the meter was off... guilty as charged...), informing the recipients that they now had TWO days to Ghost TWO families (I'm nothing if not considerate).

As Halloween approaches, I find I'm as excited to be Ghosted as our kids -- it's a reminder that we live in a close-knit community, where neighbors actually know one another, and there oodles of kids playing outside every day (the shouts and squeals in the cul-de-sac are music to my ears... mostly because my children are usually adding to the din, meaning they're not hanging off of me...). And, hey, I love a good trick as much as the next guy, especially one that provides my kids with such glee.

In fact... last year, as it turned to mid-October and we didn't see any Phantoms on anyone's door, I feared the originator had pooped out... So we started the Ghosting on our own! My girls were THRILLED to be the instigators.

I'm sure that my neighbors with older kids are sick of this by now... and maybe, in years to come, I will be, too... But for now, I'll revel in the feeling of neighborly-ness, of knowing how many (awesome, actually) kids live just around the corner, and of how much joy it brings my kids... And in how happy the Target $1 bins can make this mama.

Aubrey said...

I love what Christine just wrote. As much work as it can be, it is nice to live in a safe, loving community.

Erin Starks-Teeter said...

This is truly horrifying, but I'm convinced that you've been to different haunted houses than I have. The last one I went to was when I was 18. It was really more of a horror house than a haunted house. I was feeling kind of creeped out while waiting in line for almost an hour with all the gross monsters walking around. There was this guy who was dressed like The Crow who keep glaring at me. He walked around the corner and I got the idea to scare him. I think it was some kind of empowerment thing for me. I jumped around the corner and yelled BOO, only it didn't work out so well. He snarled at me, scaring me to death. Since he was so close, my reflexes took over, and I smacked him. He picked me up with one hand, threw me against a wall, breaking the skin over my ribs a bit, and said, "Don't touch the monsters." I've never been back to a haunted house since.

Selma said...

I can't wait for Halloween! By the way I just found your blog, and I'm loving it :)

Michelle said...

I didn't mind the Booing thing at first, but then my neighborhood started doing it for like every holiday. We had Decking for X-mas and Egging or something for Easter, and something for Thanksgiving too....

Tammy said...

I've never heard of this before. But, you seriously need to move. You're neighborhood is way too high maintanance!

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