I usually wore something 
my mother found. 
A cowboy hat 
and boots. 
A white coat 
and surgical mask. 
Money never flowed easily, 
especially for frivolities 
like Halloween. 
Still, I made the rounds, 
with my friend Mark  
and his little brother, 
plus whoever happened by. 
Only eat wrapped candy, 
my mother warned, 
sounding like the wicked witch. 
Throw away that apple. 
It surely has a pin in it. 
A spooky day, 
not only for the ghosts, 
but also for the murderers 
living on our block. 

I had outgrown 
trick or treating 
by the time 
kids started creaming up cars 
and firing eggs at our windows. 
Make sure you’re home 
from school by dark, 
my mother warned. 
These troublemakers have knives. 
Yet, I wouldn’t have minded 
going out one more time, 
with Jenny from my class, 
dressed as Frankenstein and his bride. 
Every so often a pair 
comes to my door. 
One in a ballet costume, 
the other in a hockey mask. 
Is he Jason, 
or does he play for the Rangers? 
The moms stand nearby, 
making sure I haven’t 
slipped a razor into a red delicious. 
All my candy is ethically sourced, 
I tell them. 
They nod approvingly, 
knowing that we are of one mind 
on all the moral issues. 
I watch them toddle on 
to my neighbor’s house. 
She has dementia, 
and her caregiver will not answer. 
The sun is setting. 
Another spooky day is almost done. 
But I still keep the door locked, 
just in case.