Tag Archives: Halloween

Halloween Shopping For a BIG Treat!

house with thiefWhat a week I have had.  It started with the excitement of watching someone try to break into our home—from cameras looking at a Missouri home from our Arizona home.  If you did not read about it, you can click on this link “How Safe Is Your Home?” and see what happened.  That was Monday, and today is Saturday.

Halloween 1981We didn’t know what we were going to do about Halloween which was this past Thursday.  When we lived in Fulton, Missouri, our home was on a three acre wooded lot.  There were only about 20 homes in the neighborhood.  If there were any children living in our neighborhood, they went into town to Trick or Treat.  I am just guessing because in the six years I have lived in that house, we had no one knock on our door begging for a sugary treat.

Now we are in San Tan Valley, Arizona.  What were we going to do living in a neighborhood with thousands of Jack Niki 01home?  How many kids would come to our door?  Could we be prepared?  Do we even want to be prepared?

My last few years of being a single woman in St. Charles, MO, I quit doing Halloween.  The kids would start hitting the neighborhood before I got home from work.  My living room was in the back of the house, so every time a child rang the doorbell, I would get up walk C3BC3C87-32E8-4037-B040-57E00C627DB4across the room to the front door.  I couldn’t sit on the front porch because it wasn’t very big.  I didn’t know these kids or their parents.  The first year I was at this home, and the kids knocked on the door, I asked them for their story, joke, song, whatever, they did for their treat.  The just look at me like a deer in headlights.  Really?  When I was a kid, I had to tell a joke or do something for the candy given.  Yes, it was a quid pro quo Halloween, you give me something (entertainment) and I will give you something (candy).  By the way, quid pro quo is not illegal, depending on what you are asking for in exchange for something–just thought I would throw that out for those who are not familiar with the term other than in the news.  I just felt like the fun of day was gone.  Just knock on my door, expect me to give you candy, and you bolt, never to see you again until next Halloween.  That wasn’t fun.

Halloween has become such a huge holiday, even for adults, today.  Really?  I know, many of you love the costumes and the haunted houses.  Sorry, I just don’t get it.

Halloween-CandySo, now we are in Arizona, and we are in a family community, and neither of us are excited about what to do on Halloween.  We went back and forth.  Should we stay home, sit in lawn chairs on the driveway (once again a house with the living room in the back), and pass out candy to the hobgoblins who cross our path?  It’s not Missouri, so the weather would be conducive to sitting outdoors.  But, how much candy would we need?  There are 2,700 homes in our community, with sidewalks leading to our home!  Do we buy a ton of candy, and run out, or get left with a ton of candy we don’t need?  I know only two kids in our neighborhood, and they are really sweet kids, but I think they can handle the disappointment of our home being dark for the evening.

We decided not to do Halloween.  We would spend our day running errands, and go out to dinner and then a movie.  Of course, our plans never turn out quite as planned.  I was getting the maintenance done on my Lexus, and we drove to pick up my car.  Let me back up a bit here.  I bought my Lexus in Missouri, and it is housed here in Arizona.  My dealership in St. Louis was wonderful.  They answered all my questions, were kind and polite.  Last year on our way out, I had an issue with my airbags, and when I called Lexus, they told me to find the closest dealership, stop there, get this fixed before we travel any further.  We were a half hour out of Oklahoma City.  I called them, and they put me on their schedule.  When we arrived (during a major rain storm and flooding), the service manager put a note on the board that we were traveling through, and they took our car ahead of others, and within 10 minutes, found the issue—somehow we must have stuck something under the passenger seat, and dislodged the airbag sensor.  They corrected it for free, and we were out of there in 15 minutes.

On Monday we called for an appointment at one of the Phoenix Lexus dealerships, and they made me an appointment for 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning.  We arrived there, and you would have thought you were at the airport.  The lounge was filled with people.  After waiting about 10 minutes, the service writer came to find us.  He said that it would take a few hours to do this work, so he gave us a loner car.  He stated that the car should definitely get done by 3:00 p.m.  Wow!  Five hours to service my car?  

We decided that rather than going all the way home, almost an hour away, we would go to our favorite shopping area, walk around, get some lunch, and waste time.  Dennis suggested we see a movie, but the service writer had not yet called to tell me if there was anything else the car needed.  Finally, it is 3:00 p.m., and I have not heard from the service writer, so I called to see if my car was finished.  He told me to go on home, that I could get the car the following morning.  Wow, this is just the 40,000 mile maintenance.  At 5:00 p.m., he called me and said they just got my car in and went over what they found and recommended.  Okay, let’s back up again.  Lexus of Superstition Springs gave me an appointment for 10:00 a.m. for routine maintenance, and didn’t get it to a mechanic until around 4:00 p.m.  What is wrong with that?  Why would you give me an appointment for a time that apparently you know is hours away from working on the car?

One of the items he recommended, I was very reluctant about but said I could go with it.  He said he had to order it, but not until I paid in advance for it, and it would arrive within 10 days.  I just rolled my eyes (I was at home on the phone—he didn’t see) and said okay.  The next morning we are leaving for the dealership, and I sent him an email and told him we were on our way to pick up my car, and that I decided I did not want this other thing that would take 10 days, just wanted to pay for the maintenance.  When we arrived, I went to the cashier to pay, and she informs me I pay the service writer.  So, once again, I am waiting.  He comes out to get me, and he asks me if I got his email reply.  I had not looked at my phone.  Here is the kicker.  He stated in the email, and I will quote, “Too late. It’s already installed.”  Really?  I was told I had to pay up front for it.  He didn’t have my money—he should not installed it, but because it was installed, I had to pay for it.  The email, didn’t say sorry or any apology—just a “too bad, so sad” message.  Oh, he gave me a 10% discount, like that would mean anything.  I bit my tongue, and we bolted from that dealership.  

IMG_0390We went out to lunch, and then I told Dennis I wanted to go look at a RAV4 at the Toyota dealership.  It was a car I was thinking about, and I just wanted to look.  I told him, that we will go and look, and we will not buy anything.  I also said that we will not drink their bottled water because they put stuff in it to hypnotize you to wanting to buy a car (that’s a joke).

A young lady met us as we pulled in and asked how she could help us.  She took us over to the RAV4’s on their lot, and we talked about the bells and whistles I wanted in the car.  I do like bells and whistles!  Actually, I love technology, and I wanted a car with the latest and greatest technology.  She handed me the keys and told me to test drive it, and just keep it under 100!  

This car drove like a dream, and having a camera rear view mirror which actually showed not only the lane behind me, but on both sides, was most impressive.  There was so many things about this car that I loved.  We came back in, and she asked what it would take for me to purchase the car.  I wanted to know what they would offer me for my car.  I really wanted this number because I knew someone who told me he wanted to buy my car.  She came back with an offer, and we both shook our heads no, and thought we were done.  She once again asked the question, turned the paper around to us and handed a pen to write in what we wanted.  I handed the pen to Dennis, and he wrote a number that I thought was pretty crazy.  Her eyes got big, and she wasn’t sure if that was possible.  Well, they lowered that trade requested by $2,000, but deleted $2,000 from something else so that the price would be what the bottom line was that Dennis had written down.  Now she was ready to make the sale.  I got panicked.  I had told this other person that he would have first option on my car.  I had to get ahold of him.  The sales lady looked confused because she just gave us an offer we couldn’t refuse.  Dennis looked at her, and told her that I was a retired HR manager, and that ethics is huge to me, and when I say I am going to do something, I do it.  

She said, okay, go ahead and see if you can call him.  I sent a text and didn’t get a response.  I called him.  I asked him if he could match what they offered, and he replied he could not.  He was hoping the price would be like $5,000 lower.  He said told me to trade the car.  He also thanked me for calling him and allowing him first option.

So, what did I do?  I handed over the Lexus to them.  I drove out a brand spanking new Toyota RAV4 with a total of three (3) miles on the odometer!  I did not buy the car I test drove.  As lovely as it was, I wanted a red car, with leather seats, and all the bells and whistles.  We had to go to the back lot to see find my future car.  It was scary.  I just had IMG_0391the Lexus maintenance done, and it seemed wasteful, but in the long run, I still needed to buy tires, and the work I had done, may have helped what Toyota could have offered on the car.  In the end, it was a win/win for us all.

From the time we walked into the dealership and the time we left with a car was about four hours.  Why does buying a car take so much time?  Yes, we looked.  We test drove.  We sat down and dickered back and forth on the price.  She got approval.  We went to financing and did paper work.  Not only that, the next morning was spent calling the insurance company to change coverage, moving my satellite radio from the old car to the new, and cancelling my Lexus Enform which is like OnStar, and return to the dealership with the other set of Lexus keys and title.

On our drive to the dealership, I tested some of the technology.  I had it on cruise control with radar.  It kept me in my lane.  The car has adaptive cruise control, so as the car in front of me slowed down, so did my car.  Then the car in front of me came up to a red light.  I had my foot near the brake, but I waited, and the car slowed down, and then stopped without me touching the brake.  I will not normally do this, and will brake on my own, but it was amazing to see that this really did work!

So, Happy Halloween to me.  I like my red Halloween costume which I shall wear for many years.  

I am not sorry for the decision I made.  I am sorry I took my car to the Lexus dealer before checking out the Toyotas, but in the long run, it will be okay.  The night I got home after buying the car, I was really stressed out from the whole ordeal of the day.  I couldn’t sleep—it was after 3:00 a.m. before I fell asleep.  Check this link if you wonder what makes you sleep.  I was exhausted yesterday.  By dinner time, I was not functioning.  I was so tired that Dennis and I decided we both needed to cancel any plans for running around today and do things at home we want to do.

Dennis has been busy on his computer scanning hundreds of documents so he can shred these papers.  Yes, we are techie, and we prefer our information in the cloud rather than all over our home.  Then he plans to hit the mountain for a four mile hike.  For me, I decided, I will bake.  Baking relieves tension for me.  The ingredients are waiting, and before I post, I will add photos of the baking experience today.  By the way, most of it is going in the freezer, some being given to friends, and just a tiny bit of this baking available for us to eat today.

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Orange Cranberry Scones

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Chocolate Chip Cookies w/pecans

Not My Favorite Holiday

I am not a fan of Halloween.  I liked it as a child, but it wasn’t my favorite holiday by far.  We had some sort of lame Halloween party at school in the afternoon.  We had to bring our costumes and dress up sometime during the afternoon before the party.  None of these were memorable.

I have memories of three Halloweens:  

  • The first memory of going out on Halloween was when I was somewhere between kindergarten and 2nd grade, because it was at the first home we lived.  We went around the corner and knocked on the door.  The lady of the house opened the door, and all I remember is that the piano in her living room was playing and no was sitting at the piano.  My eyes must have widened when I saw that because the lady of the house pointed out a ghost was playing the piano.  I had never seen or heard of a player piano before then, so she had me convinced!
  • My sister and I went trick or treating together.  She was four years older than me, 00 Smith Brosso she must have been about 12 years old, and I was about 8 years old.  We dressed up as the Smith Brothers.  Who are the Smith Brothers?  They were the cough drop people.  We would buy a box of cherry flavored cough drops made by Smith Brothers.  Back then I think the only competitor they had was Luden’s, and Smith Brothers were so much more tasty.  Actually, I think they were nothing more than cherry flavored candy.  The Smith Brother’s picture was on the boxes, and they were old guys with beards.  We found fake beards, and wore our dad’s clothes with pillows stuffing them to make us look rotund.  Judy took a department store coat box (yeah, who see those any more), and she covered it with white tissue paper and then drew the design of the cough drop box on this giant box.  We lived in a small neighborhood with about a dozen homes.  We knocked on the door, and we were asked if we had a “trick.”  Back in those days, we had to sing a song, tell a joke, or something to become the recipient of the candy.  So when asked what our trick was, we proceeded to do our “Smith Brothers” thing.  One of us would cough, and the other would hand over a cough drop.  It was quite a hit.  We also always wore a 0 andreamask, even if  it was just to cover our eyes.  You know like the Lone Ranger mask.  I thought that our neighbors wouldn’t know who I was if I wore the mask.  The Millers lived next door to us, and they had two yappy chihuahuas who would start barking as soon as we rang the doorbell.  Back in those days in our neighborhood, we also came inside the home to do our “trick” and receive our treat.  Mrs. Miller would act like she didn’t recognize us, and would hem and haw over who we might me.  I was feeling really proud that I could disguise myself so well, and then she would exclaim, “Oh my, it’s Andrea.  I can tell by those eyes.”  I could never hide my big browns from behind the mask no matter how much I tried!
  • 0 candyThe third Halloween I remember was when I was about 11 or 12 years old.  My cousins lived in large neighborhood, unlike my small neighborhood.  They bragged about all the candy they got when they go out on Halloween, and they invited me to go with them to the multitude of homes in the area.  Yes, my bag was filled, but it was all filled with penny candy.  In my neighborhood of only a dozen homes, everyone there gave full size candy bars and boxes of Cracker Jacks.  Full size back in the 50’s was much bigger than full size candy bars today.  I realized I loved the few large quality candy bars better than a bag filled with penny candy!

0 boysAs the years have gone forward, I took my kids out for Halloween.  As a single mom, I didn’t have money for fancy costumes. Some were handed down, used through brothers and cousins, some were just put together with what we had.  The boys didn’t know any different, and they were happy.  When I took them out, no one was at home to answer the door.

Haunted houses and adults getting into the action were just beginning at that time, but not for me.  When my kids were finally out of the house, and I was home to answer the door, I was disappointed that these kids don’t sing songs, tell jokes, or anything.  They just knock on the door and say, “Trick or Treat,” and then I am supposed to hand over the candy.  Where was the fun in that?  I loved the little bitty ones, still too young and shy who came with their mommy or daddy.  I would stoop down eye to eye with them and talk to them, and happily gave them candy.  The older kids, with no desire to show their comedic or other talent were no fun.  My living room was in the back of my home, and answering the door was inconvenient, getting up, going back and sitting down, getting up again, and over and over.  I found myself protesting the holiday by not being at home.  I would work late, go out to dinner, or go shopping, and come back home when it was too dark for the kids to be ringing my door bell.  

Now I live in the country in a private neighborhood, with about twenty homes, each on acreage.  The first year I was here, I bought candy and was ready for the door, and to my disappointment, not one single kids goes out in our neighborhood.  I no longer buy candy, and I am prepared for the one or two kids who live here who might show up.  Usually, they go into town to celebrate Halloween.

My grandkids think I am a Scrooge when it comes to Halloween, but I just don’t get it.  I don’t get the haunted houses and the creepy stuff.  I don’t get trying the scare the living daylights out of children.  I don’t get kids not singing or doing something to get a free candy bar.  I guess I am getting old.  I do love to see my grandkids and children of my friends in their clever costumes, and if they came to my door, I would happily treat them.  I just don’t get the rest of it.

One year I baked skeleton cookies with my granddaughters.  We let “Larry” join us for our baking adventures.  Larry has moved on and is no longer in this house (he has found a new closet to live in), and now my grandkids in Missouri are too big to celebrate with me.

 

It ’s okay if you enjoy Halloween.  Just don’t scare the cute little kids.  And, if you have a good trick up your sleeve, sing your heart out or tell a good joke—it might get you an extra treat!

Here are a few photos of my grandkids over the years on Halloween.  Now on to November, and preparations for my more favorite holidays!