It’s Thursday night, and I am home alone.
In the midst of making dinner, and consoling Mr I-don’t-need-to-sleep Grumpy Pants, the door bell rings. Thinking it might be my state official NZ documentation, I abandon Grumpy Pants, and go to answer the door. In the dark, not wearing my glasses, I see two strangely dressed tweens mumble something incoherent. With an increasingly mobile and noisy grumpster upstairs, I am feeling too distracted to engage in a Norwegian conversation, and just want to get back to homemaking and restoring normality.
Thinking they are some sort of collectors, I politely said ‘Nei takk’, and proceed to close the door.
And that’s when one of them starts going, in what can only be described as, ape shit.
“NEI TAKK?!!?”, she yells. “DU KAN IKKE SI NEI TAKK!!!!!”. She beings vomiting out a loud angry mostly incomprehensible diatribe about how ‘NEI TAKK’ is an unacceptable answer.
Now, I am irritated. I really do not have time for this. The sudden silence upstairs was a sure sign of trouble, and in more urgent need of attention.
And then, it dawns on me.
Today is 31st of October. And these two badly behaved tweens are demanding candy (the best I could have offered is an unripe mango, but I’m guessing they have would thrown that back in my face).
In no mood to discipline two angsty, potty-mouthed bieberlets, I feign another smile, and again say ‘nei takk’, hurriedly closing the door to ongoing muffled shouting, and repeated furious ringing of the doorbell.
I am left feeling rather perplexed by their poor self entitled behavior.
Now, I’ve never gotten into Halloween, but I reluctantly appreciate how it must be an awesome time for kids. They get to spend weeks planning on how to dress up, and then for that one time of the year, they get to go out at night together, wander the streets, and get candy for their efforts.
It sounds more fun than Christmas.
Similarly, coming to a house with no candy, must be a little bit like finding Aunty Jane only gave you socks.
So, then why is there not a more established Halloween protocol?
It’s unreasonable to expect every house will participate.
Yet it seems, a bit like superannuation, the default standard is that everyone is opted in, and if you don’t want to participate, you either have to hide inside in the dark, or remember to make up a sign to put on your door.
Surely, it would much better for everyone to be opted out, and if you wanted to participate you would decorate your front door and maybe have a pumpkin lantern, or something.
Then, kids face no awkwardness, and frustration. They get to play ‘spot the next candy house’, and generally have a much happier night.
But seriously, they still need to be taught some manners*.
*And now it’s official. I’m the old, scary, no-fun grump.