Wednesday evening I was sitting down with my husband to a dinner of toffee apple pudding when there was a knock at the door. My husband got up to go see who it was. After a minute he returned.
“Who was that?” I asked him.
“Snoep of je leven [candy or your life],” my husband said. He picked up his fork and carried on eating.
“I think this is a perfectly good toffee apple pudding, but if you want candy you only have to say so. There’s no need to resort to threats.”
“I meant at the door. Trick-or-treaters,” my husband said.
“Trick-or-treaters?” I said.
“And they said candy or your life? My God. Imagine you’re a little old lady and some kid in a mask says candy or your life? Are they insane?”
“That’s what they say here,” said my husband.
“What, you mean here in Indictable Offense Halloween Land? Six years I’ve lived here and no one has ever threatened my life for a lollipop. Did you tell them this is Holland? You guys don't even do trick-or-treating. You guys do bishops and black slaves, not masks and pumpkin-carving. What’s next, Guy Fawkes Day? Will they misinterpret that too and start throwing live Catholics on the bonfire? What did you say to them?”
“I said we didn’t have any candy”
“Oh that’s great,” I said, throwing my hands up in the air but not in the good way. “Now we just look like the mean child-haters of the street.”
“But you just finished saying –”
“I know what I said, but what will the neighbours think? I mean, what kind of an answer is that?: we don’t have any candy. I bet the people next door weren’t expecting trick-or-treaters either but I bet they came up with something. Your life was being threatened and you answered we don’t have any candy. I'm sure we have some sugar cubes in one of the drawers. And I still have almost a whole box of narcotics left over from when I had that ear infection last month. What would you have done if this had been a real robbery?”
“This wasn’t a robbery”
“My point exactly. This time it wasn't a real robbery, but it was an optimal moment to practice for one, and all you could do was stand there like a dummy and say we don’t have any candy.”
“This toffee apple pudding is really good.”
"Thanks. We're having chicken with braised celery for dessert."
And that was how I spent my Halloween. My husband and I went as ourselves this year.