Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Is It a Trick or Treat to Dress Up as a Middle-Aged Man?

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Is It a Trick or Treat to Dress Up as a Middle-Aged Man?

Article excerpt

Horrors -- woke up Wednesday morning only to realize I hadn't figured out what to be for Halloween this year.

One might think that after five decades, a man's appetite for trick-or-treating would have waned. But the allure of free candy is just too tempting, probably because during one childhood Nov. 1 an older brother stole and ate most of my candy -- been trying to make up for the psychological and sugar-depressed scars from it ever since.

I always like the reaction of people at the front door when confronted by a grown man carrying a pillow case, pushing his way past the little princesses and superheroes.

"Er, aren't you a little big and old for this?" some have asked.

"Yo, whatchoo mean? I'm just dressed as a middle-aged man this year, bro," I respond, "and from the reactions I'm getting, it's the most convincing costume any 13-year-old's put on all night. Now why don't you put the candy in the bag and chill so I's can get on with my business? And for what it's worth, yo, it's not nice to make fun of young people's overly large sizes and wrinkles. I've got a glandular problem, you know."

Usually, that draws some sympathy and an extra candy bar from the women-folk at the door. The men, well, they mostly just glare, though I could tell a few were envious. One old-timer asked if I'd wait for him to put a ghostly sheet over his head so he could join me on my rounds, but I was concerned he would slow me down.

"No dice, you old rascal," I yelled over a shoulder while skipping down his steps.

The annual charade is very educational geographically, in that I can't really go door-to-door in my own neighborhood and expect to get anything. So I've been from Crafton Heights to Brighton Heights and Aspinwall to Wall to get a fix for my Snickers addiction. I've become one of the few non-residents of the South Hills who can figure out the difference between Banksville, Beechview and Brookline.

Yes, that's right, I cross rivers and go through tunnels -- a regular Pittsburgh freak -- to get to candy. Whether the neighborhoods are rich or poor, black or white, under revitalization or long forgotten, I've traipsed their steep streets, muttering under my breath about the property-owners who had time enough to appeal their reassessments but won't take five minutes to clear leaves off their sidewalks so I can see where I'm going. …

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