Cracker by Damian Christie

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Cracker: A Halloween story too cute not to share

71 Responses

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  • Jackie Clark,

    Heh. On Friday night, I was working late at the kindergarten.It is, if you will remember, in a much maligned, sometimes violent, but most of the time peaceful and family oriented suburb south of the metropolis, and east of the Islands to which many of the fine citizens lay claim as ancestral home . One of the other staff was there, and we went outside. Up bowls three very large teenaged boys standing outside our gate. I enquired as to what business they could possibly have at a kindergarten. "Ball went over" says they. " Can we come in and get it or should we just jump the fence?" they say, with a bit of a menace on their young faces. I gently replied in the negative whilst giving them back their ball. I intimated many things from their faces. One had a very ugly sneer. Very threatening , in a kind of imitation of our beloved next door neighbours who affliliate themselves very closely with a group that call themselves after a large pack of dogs of uncertain parentage. So I thought quickly. And then I looked at them in a very teacherlike manner, and told them that if they were good young men, and behaved themselves, they could come back later and they would be rewarded with a bar of chocolate. An hour later, I hear " Miss! Miss!" so out I go with the promised chocolate. And as I handed it over, I happened to pass comment on the fact that we had had recently had some very light graffiti-ing done on our building. Would they know who had done it? And if they didn't would they mind terribly keeping an eye on the kindergarten over the weekend? "Oh yes, Miss." they avowed. And happy as Larry, off they went, assured that they had been given an important job, and I went home, knowing that it's the little gestures that count. And that there is something beautiful about bonding with young men, in hooded sweatshirts, over a bar of chocolate.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    We got one visit (stayed at pub to avoid the endless stream). We don't eat sweets so wasn't sure what the other half was going to offer. He came up with oranges. I offered alcohol, he laughed and so did his mum, at which point i thought perhaps 7 was a bit young to get them started. :)
    Posted on wrong thread but now I'm in the right direction (although that's debateable also)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6077 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Here in the wopwops. Halloween is ignored...there is one family with a kid old enough to go trick or treating - but they dont hold with Halloween. There used to be another family with kids that did it - and locals would buy lollies & offer subversive stuff like apples or books as well because - well, that family was local. And while there are 3 families with young children, they're a bit young to go out even with parental accompaniment...Halloween passed without even a sniff of a tiny greenpepper lantern roasting away...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Oh, Halloween, er, yeah. That explains something.
    Like duh, silly me.
    Well it was like this, see. What happened was nothing really. There was this knock on the front door, doesn't happen often and so I goes and opens it see? An, and there was this apparition, a being sort of thing. Well, it were all wrapped up in toilet paper and I screamed, like shocked an' stuff I panicked, you know, the way you do, eh? So' they weren't that big so I thought I would do the right thing and save the neighbours, as you do, from these zombie things.
    Anyroad, what happened next was sheer terror, what seemed like eons of child abuse. I tell you I have never heard such abuse from children.
    Then came the banshee like screeches, the wailing of souls, the gut wrenching sounds of torment and the pounding of fists on my shield of solitude, my front door.
    As I cowered in the corner of my, very small I must add, office (it's a vestibule, actually, you know, those spaces between the front door an the proper house) I could observe the fear and trepidation on the creature assaulting my castle, i was a MOTHER!!!!!!
    Fearing for my peace of mind and mental stability (which some, I presume, may consider to be the same) I made a run for the bathroom.
    Apparently it's all ok now.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4772 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Well I f8794ked that one up. One typo and no edit button.
    Should have read "It was a MOTHER!!!!"
    and any way. it's not true. Apart from the bit where I screamed, because I thought I was being attacked by a toilet roll and when the story was still in my head it was supposed to be "MUMMY!!! or something which would explain the toilet roll or something. Going away now, quietly.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4772 posts Report Reply

  • dyan campbell,

    I could observe the fear and trepidation on the creature assaulting my castle, i was a MOTHER!!!!!!

    Should have read "It was a MOTHER!!!!"

    Aww, spoilsport Steve.

    I was particularly enjoying this ghoulish, Halloween appropriate, nature defied, man-gives-birth-and-terrifies-himself-in-his-foyer story.

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 595 posts Report Reply

  • Kerry Weston,

    And that there is something beautiful about bonding with young men, in hooded sweatshirts, over a bar of chocolate.

    good on ya, Jackie. Nice bit of positive action on yr part.

    Manawatu • Since Jan 2008 • 494 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Yeah, Jackie, my already large admiration for you has just increased.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2947 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    We got one visit (stayed at pub to avoid the endless stream). We don't eat sweets so wasn't sure what the other half was going to offer. He came up with oranges.

    I LOVE Halloween!

    We went trick or treating as kids in the late 80s. Making us the only kids to do so ever in our neighbourhood (possibly ever in Tauranga). Some folks knew what was going on others had no clue but were friendly to see kids (8-9yr olds) dressed up as vampires and frankensteins. We got muesli bars and stuff. It was fun.

    The two best places were my Dad's boss who gave us $10 each and the weird old hermit down the road who gave us a whole bag of jersey caramels!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2081 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Well, you had to admire Westfield Albany's hat-tip to polytheistic paganism -- a combo Halloween and Christmas tree lighting __and-- fireworks display to celebrate their first anniversary.

    The food hall was chaotic, though this conversation with a rather gabby youngling was rather un-nerving:

    FAIRY: I'm a fairy.
    ME: And a very pretty one, too.
    FAIRY: What are you?
    ME (pointing at beret): A magic mushroom.
    FAIRY: That's not scary.
    ME: No.

    Wow... Did I have my couture dished by a Christmas tree ornament while on-line for a milkshake? You betcha...

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11902 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce,

    I nearly fell off my chair laughing.

    Reminded me of the one about the 2 guys putting the rubbish out in the morning.

    Guy 1. Where's ya bin ?

    Guy 2. Been on holiday man.

    Guy 1. Nah nah, where's ya wheely bin ?

    Guy 2. Oh, been in Jail man.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 345 posts Report Reply

  • Dave Patrick,

    This year was the quietest for quite a few years in the Halloween-door-knocking department. We had one group of 4 14-15 year girls who between them had managed to muster up a beret, a set of fairy wings and (I think) some bunny ears. I told them to go away [/humbug]

    Rangiora, Te Wai Pounamu • Since Nov 2006 • 237 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    Got trick or treated once this year. One of the neighbours kids, who did pretty well out of being the only patron. We used to get trick or treated a fair bit when we were in the UK - we were on a council estate and the local kids just did the rounds, asking for sweets (or, in the case of the teenagers, cash - they got sweets).

    First time I was ever trick or treated was back when I was a student, living in the only student flat on a fairly upmarket street. For some reason, I'd been having a shower and answered the door with just a towel around my waist to see two preschoolers proferring bags, shepherded by two Kelburn matrons with increasing looks of worry/disgust as they took in this dripping wet, half-naked, hairy, tattooed/pierced hippy. The kids didn't bat an eyelid, and ended up with fistfuls of sweeties as a result, after which their mothers hustled them away at speed. Great days, great days.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • Ngaruna Kapinga,

    And that there is something beautiful about bonding with young men, in hooded sweatshirts, over a bar of chocolate.

    What a fantastic story Jackie - goes to show how a little mutual respect can go such a long way despite ones appearance. I suspect you will never have an issue with graffiti again.

    Wellington • Since May 2008 • 26 posts Report Reply

  • Dinah Dunavan,

    We had some (not so) young folk turn up one year. No attempt had been made to dress up. I don't do halloween in NZ, and I really don't do holloween for try-it-on teens, so they might have been lucky to get a lolly. Next year we padlocked the gate. No one showed up - yippee. But the next morning as I got ready to drive out the gate $&@*&^%$ somebody had locked the gate and the key was inside with my snoring husband.

    Now we live in the middle of nowhere we don't have any problem with trick-or-treaters. But we do have nosey dirtbikers/4wders and hunters and a couple of visits from the local Jehovers Witnessers.

    We stayed with friends a decade or so ago in Massachusetts and watched their then 6 year old going trick-or-treating down their quiet suburban street. Very cute, very neighbourly and the fact that it was 4:30pm and getting dark made it not so commercial & ridiculous.

    Last year at my ma-in-laws in Connecticut just the one family come knocking, the wee boys from five doors up. Middle-class suburban America appears to live in fear of attack these days and trick-or-treating might be becoming a bit too "un-safe" for most people.

    I suppose it does keep the Christmas decorations out of the stores for a week or two.

    Dunedin • Since Jun 2008 • 172 posts Report Reply

  • Julian Melville,

    After several years of harrumphing and ignoring the doors (last year the little bastards let themselves in because we forgot to lock it) we actually bought a few sweets this year. And... nobody showed up.

    Ah well, more for me.

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 183 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Next year we padlocked the gate

    A "beware oif the dog" sign works well. Last year we bought kilos of fruitbursts... at the end of the evening we had kilos of fruitbursts left.

    This year, we had chubba chups. We still do.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2073 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Mind you, in my suburb the Glen takes all the hits & surrounding streets are ignored - if you stand at the Glen entrance to the Bot gardens on Halloween & look up, it looks like hordes of army ants in fancy dress heading down one side of the street & back up the other.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2073 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    We had one group of 4 14-15 year girls who between them had managed to muster up a beret, a set of fairy wings and (I think) some bunny ears. I told them to go away

    My dad rang this morning and told me how my step-sister went to a Halloween party with a bunch of other young teen girls (13-14) and how a few of the girls were dressed as Playboy bunnies with fishnets and skimpy outfits. Haven't they seen Mean Girls?!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2081 posts Report Reply

  • JohnAmiria,

    a few of the girls were dressed as Playboy bunnies with fishnets and skimpy outfits.

    Did they sneak out of the house and get dressed 'round the corner? or did Mum think they looked as cute as a button? Probably the latter, and probably Mum took a photo on her phone too - and got the girls to do their sexiest pose, and then pxted all her friends, with the word LOL! attached.

    I expect I'll see the photos turning up on Facebook soon enough ...

    hither and yon • Since Aug 2008 • 215 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Lovely story, Jackie.

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1303 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Yeah, Jackie is made of win.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3648 posts Report Reply

  • Rebecca Williams,

    i'm firmly in the bah humbug camp, i'm afraid. standard practice at my house has become to put a hand written sign on the front door that says "no trick or treat sorry! shhhhhh baby sleeping".

    well, that's what i wrote this year. last year i had just managed to get said baby to sleep, an hour or so past what would have been desirable, and a bunch of very noisy kids pounded on the front door of my small house. i was fuuuuuuuuurious. so furious i ran up the street and gave their parents a telling off (at least the parents were with them i suppose) and then put a sign on my door saying "no trick or treat! go away!".

    i don't mind kids having fun, but can't they find a kiwi way to do it instead of this wholesale adoption of americana?

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Dave Patrick,

    We've tried various "go away" measures in the past, ranging from having the sprinkler going beside the front path (kept most away, but one group of kids just walked through it) to a sign on the door and a sign on the letter box (ignored by most).

    Parents who don't let their kids walk to school and would be horrified if you suggested their kids should walk to the other side of town to play in a strange park seem quite happy with sending their same small children out to bang on strange doors and ask for lollies. Must confuse the heck out of the kids, what with the "stranger danger" and "don't take sweets from strangers" message they get the rest of the year....

    Rangiora, Te Wai Pounamu • Since Nov 2006 • 237 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Get a "Beware of the Pitbull" sign.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2073 posts Report Reply

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