- A Kitty in the Henhouse
- Chicken Scratches and Other Writing Tips
- Eye Candy
- Happenings at the Henhouse
- Music of the Coop
- Pop Culture
- Squawk Authors: Latest and Greatest Books
- Squawk Friends
- Squawk Interactive: Captions, polls, etc
- Squawk's Favorite Books
- Stranger Than Fiction (Real Life)
- Teresa Reveals the CONFESSIONS OF A TRUE ROMANTIC
- CHRISTINA DODD HAS A TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY
- Christina Dodd Exposes the Glamour of Booktour
- Christina Dodd Treats You to an Extra Excerpt of IN BED WITH THE DUKE!
- GIRLFRIENDS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN Contest!
- Connie Brockway Posts Incriminating New Video
- SPOIL ME! BY CELEBRATING THE GOLDEN SEASON’S PUB DATE, TODAY!
- Teresa Says It Loud and Says It Proud: I WRITE ROMANCE NOVELS!!!
- CHRISTINA DODD SAYS “IT’S CHRISTMAS! DUCK!”
- Teresa Needs Your Help to Choose the SEXIEST MAN DEAD!
Being a witch comes naturally to some—no, not the Witch Political, the old fashioned caricature. You know. Wicked Witch of the West. The cackling hag. The hook-nosed, green skinned, wart covered old bat that pokes out newts’ eyes for her diabolical soups...Oops. Sorry. I got carried away. Anyway, my point is that I possess a natural bent towards such witchiness and all things Halloween that my husband doesn’t. So, of course, when our kid (Doodah) started making the trick or treat rounds Daddy got nominated to trudge dutifully behind her as I gleefully remained home, ohing and awing at the various ghouls and monsters and politicians (and yes, that grouping was purposeful) that showed up with hands out stretched and bags at ready.
But soon, oh-ing and ah-ing palled and I began to yearn to partake more fully in the festivities and the first thought that came to min was that I could be a witch. Mind you, this was long before the explosion of Halloween as a commercial industry. People carved pumpkins and doled out candy and sometimes stuck an animated 14” tall, moon-walking Frankenstein in their front windows but that was pretty much it. The first year I dressed up I put down as my rehearsal and while fun, it wasn’t as much fun as I had envisioned it being. Somehow, opening my suburban door dressed in black dress and wearing a wig failed to strike awe into the tender little breasts of my neighbor kids. Which , of course, was my goal. Children today are too sophisticated. Even the three year old from down the block could see through my disguise – or maybe she just didn’t think there was enough difference between what I opened the door in and my usual muck-about-the-yard garb.
The next year I decided to go for broke. Oh, mind, I wasn’t about to dump tons of money we didn’t have into the project but with a little ingenuity and some really dim lights, I made out. I donned my navy blue bathrobe, floor length with a zip front, bought a pointy hat at JoAnne Fabrics, and liberated Doodah’s karaoke machine (complete with vibrato special effects) from the attic where it had been banished until Doodah could carry a tune (still waiting for that.) Then, just after the dinner hour, I climbed out onto the faux balcony above the garage with a bag of mini-snickers bars, turned the karaoke machines’ volume and vibrato up full blast, and peeled forth with the witchly cackle to end all cackles. I have it on good authority that as many as three blocks away strong men paled upon hearing my witchly bell canto. And when flocks of little goblins came tripping up to my front door I would peer over the eaves and cackle, “Hey kiddies! Want a treat or would you rather I had one....?” Oh. I’m giving myself shills. Not as many as I gave the neighborhood kids who clutched each other and screamed in a rhapsody of delighted terror as I lured them forth in my karaoke enhanced voice, “Here, kiddie, kiddie. Here kiddie, kiddie.” As soon as they reached the porch, I’d lean over and toss down their candy to them. And a good time was had by all.
So began my blighted career as the Balfanz Witch.
I am humbled to admit that I was an instant hit with the sub-ten crowd. As the years went by my notoriety grew. People would walk for blocks to come to the house just so I could rain snicker bars down on their kids –and just what does that say about parents of today, anyway? Then one cold, blustery Halloween night it all came to an end. Hubris and my own ignorance of the average thirteen year old’s capacity for revenge were my undoing.
I was sitting on my roof about to call it a night. It was late, the four to seven year old crowd were long gone and the eight to eleven year old surge was pretty much over, too. All that was left were the twelve to fourteen year old stragglers. You know them. The older brothers and sisters of the darling tykes dressed up as Tinkerbelle and Pound Puppy? The age bracket that is too cool to dress up but are still young enough that the idea of a bag of free candy is irresistible? The stage of life where they are just perfecting the sneers that will pretty much carry them through the next half decade? Yeah, those kids. Anyway I was just about to call it a night when four females showed up. They were about thirteen or so and all four had turned their jackets around and wore hand printed envelopes that read “Backward Girl.” And to think all the years I’d been ashamed of Doodah’s cheapo ghost bedsheet…
They couldn’t see me; The lights were on over the front porch which made me, hovering on the rooftop overhead, invisible. They shuffled around at the bottom of the drive a few minutes and I could hear them talking. I have to admit that the only bit of charm this quartet showed that night was their speech. It was a weird synthesis of 80’s Valley Girl vocabulary with a Fargo-esque accent.
“This is that house where that lady dresses up as a witch,” said Backward Girl #1.
“Oh, fer lame,” said Backward Girl #2.
“Duh,” Backward Girl #3 agreed –at least I think that was meant as an agreement. “What-ever.”
“It’s like way stoo-pid,” said Backward Girl #4. “Who’d be scared of some old witch dressed up like some old witch?”
There ensued hoots of laughter at this penultimate example of pubescent wit.
“Totally,” Backward Girl #1 said when the hilarity died down. “It’s like so sketchy. ‘Look at me! I’m a scary witch!’ It’s like totally lame.”
“You betcha, er, I mean, totally,” Backward Girl # 4 agrees.
“So, then, let’s go and get our candy,” Backward Girl # --oh, hell who cares which girl said what? They were like totally interchangeable anyway.
Now, I am not proud of what happened next but I was a trifle offended by these aspersions on my ability to strike terror into kids’ hearts so, in a truly uninspired moment, I decided to have a little “fun” with the girls. As they started up the driveway, I crept out off the balcony and onto the roof, lurking just out of the sight at the edge of the eaves.
They milled about on the porch a few seconds before one of them pushed the doorbell as another said, “I am so scared I can hardly stand it.” At which point, I popped out over the eaves, just above their heads and shout, “Heya girls!” in my best-cracked, wicked witch voice.
Their reaction was all a defamed witch could want. They jumped at least a foot in the air, shrieked like banshees, and clutched each other like, well, like little girls.
“Want some candy?” I cackled.
They did not want some candy. Their terror was, of course, over in a matter of seconds, and I reckoned they’d just stomp off in a teenage huff. I reckoned wrong. I know. Stupid. In my own defense, all I can say was that Doodah was little yet and I didn’t yet know that the absolute worst thing in the world you can do to a thirteen year old girl is embarrass her in front of her peers and that if you do, you do so at your own peril.
“Get her, girls!” Backwards Girl Whatever shouted as with a cry of young female rage (the most fieresome kind), the girls fell to the ground and started scooping up windfall crabapples.
I squatted on the roof, mouth gaping, as the little bi—er, witches started hurling crabapples at me. Lots of crabapples! And I’m going on record today to say I think at least a couple of those girls must have ended up on the Olympic fast pitch softball team because those suckers HURT!
Now, I was not in a good position being stuck on a steeply sloping roof as I was, so I started a quick retreat, crabapples whacking my hat askew and making way too many directs hits on the undoubtedly too easy target of my giant bathrobe encased bum. By the time I scrambled back onto the balcony, I was ready for some payback –I did mention this maybe wasn’t my finest moment-- but I didn’t have any crabapples. What I did have was mini-snickers bars. Lots of ‘em,
The ensuing battle raged for a good ten minutes, volleys of dozens of crabapples countered by my own sniper-like accuracy with one candy bar at a time. We fought grimly, mutely, and in earnest, the silence punctuated by little “Uffs!” and an occasional “Ow!” and quite a few expletives (and these weren’t from me.)
Alas, despite my valiant last stand, ultimately there could only be one outcome: there were, after all, five crabapple trees down on the front lawn and only two bags of candy on the balcony with me, and I know when to quit. So, pitching my last snicker bar, I raised my fist and shook it at the sneering girls below, then made as regal an exit as through a small window as one can while wearing a witch hat and a bathrobe. The girls hooted in mockery.
And thus ended my career as the Balfanz Witch. The blue bathrobe returned to being just a bathrobe, the wig has long since been bequeathed to a new generation of witches, and the karaoke machine sits in the attic gathering dust. And Me? I learned a valuable lesson, one that I’m afraid I needed to learn over andover again when Doodah reached puberty: Never, ever underestimate the retaliatory response of an embarrassed teenage girl.
I’d like to say I was disheartened by my experience, that the fun of dressing up just wasn’t there after that night, but the truth was I didn’t dare go out the next year. Or the next. I was afraid they’d come back and next time they’d be packing regular-sized apples.