Thursday, October 25, 2012


Josie and I were in my office the other evening, when the door bell rang at our side door.  It took us a only a few seconds to get across the house and get the door open, but when we did, we saw only the above Boo bag and not a soul in sight.

Do other towns Boo?  

Because if they don't, we feel pretty sorry for them.  I'm not sure who started this tradition, but for the 12 years we've lived in our small, New England town, each Halloween season has brought the nightly chance that one might be targeted for the most-rewarding kind of ding-dong-ditch.

This Boo was filled with goodies:

There were three light up mouthpieces ...

stickers, candy, erasers and ...

really cool art kits, that were customized for the Elliot children:

It was one of the best Boo bags ever - the perfect amount of stuff and candy ... we were very excited to receive it.  This is our first (and only?) Boo of the year, and I was starting to think that maybe the tradition was either ending or our children were simply aging out.  

We hit the peak of the Boo years ago, when our children were toddlers.   It was not unusual to hear more than one late-evening door bell in the weeks leading up to Halloween.  And it wasn't just the quantity of Boo's that seemed crazy, it was the great quality of the bags as well.  People got pretty carried away and mothers were definitely competing to out-do each other.  One year, we got Boo-ed four times and each bag was more elaborate than the next.  Things have definitely calmed down over the last few years.  Boo bags in our town have been more candy-oriented and less over-the-top.  I'm happy about the changes.  The fun should be found in the giving / surprising and not so much in the receiving.

What brought about the change?  I have some guesses:  maybe mother's of toddlers have more time on their hands, while those of us with older children find it pretty difficult to find time to gather goodies and ring door bells, when there's carpooling to do and homework to supervise.  Or maybe we can blame the bad economy.  Who wants to spend much-needed spare cash on gifting other people's children?  I don't know the reason, but I do know that Georgia and Josie have often longed for the good-ole-days of nightly surprises and free presents.

The Rules of the Boo are simple.  You get a present and then you, in turn, have to give a present.  And it's all done very anonymously, under the cover of darkness.  

Georgia and Josie thought long and hard about who should receive the favor of our Boo.  Even though we hadn't caught them in the act, we had our suspicions that we had been Boo-ed by our friends, Mia & Ella, and the girls thought it would be cunning to Boo them right back.  I bought some holiday-themed items during the day and after hockey practice, Georgia and Josie assembled the bag and the sign.

We included some candy, glow-in-the-dark necklaces, plastic spiders, Halloween confetti and some scary slipper socks:

We waited until we had the cover of darkness, and then we drove off into the night:

We parked our car in front of Mia & Ella's neighbor's house and stealthily made our way to their front door:

Once on the property, things moved quickly.  The girls were like a well-rehersed swat team:

Josie put the bag down, Georgia used the knocker to rap on the door twice and we were out of there!

Sadly, all the subterfuge was for naught, because we found out later that Mia & Ella were out with their mother at the time of the Boo and didn't even know we had been there.  Drat!  Well, it's the thought that counts!

And I did receive the above photo of Mia & Ella trying on their new socks!  

Happy Halloween!


Lisa @ The Golden Spoons said...

I have read about this tradition and love this idea of boo-ing neighbors! We live out in the country and don't really have neighbors to "Boo," but maybe next year we can come up with a way to do it!

Martha said...

Lisa - it is a great Halloween tradition and it was fun to watch the children do all the work and get really into the planning.

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