Bookween Tradition

Bookween Tradition October 28, 2011

They come with parents

Or friends

Sisters and dumb brothers

In strollers

Or sneakers that flash.

They come dressed

As dragons

And princesses

As witches

And Power Rangers

Some will come as

Mitt Romney

Some as


They will crowd around the open door

Pushing grocery sacks

And plastic pumpkins

Calling out in their cheeriest voices:

Trick-Or-Treat Trick-Or-Treat Give me something good to eat.

And I will study them

With their green faces

And their purple hair

I will recoil at the witches

And coo over the princesses

Oh, how precious you all are!

I will bend at the waist,

and drop mini-Snickers

and Milky-Ways into their bags

While remembering the night Brother John

and me, only 8 and 6, went door-to-door in the sky-rise apartments

of Oahu, collecting money from the cocktail party crowd

who hadn’t planned to get any trick-or-treaters.

There are better gifts than candy, I learned.

How old are you? I ask the tall ones

who come to our front door

12. 14. 16, they say.

AHH! For you I have a special gift!



Wow! they say, turning to each other

This lady gives out special treats.

What about me? cries the 9 year old.

For you there’s candy, I say, and plop

the chocolate into their bags

while handing the older ones that gift I promised


A book? they ask. A book?

They are befuddled.

YES! YES! I cry. It’s terrific! You’ll enjoy it

while you sneak the candy from your little sister’s bag

the way Brother John did me

the way my own son did his sisters

And the next year, they come back

bringing their friends to the

Book Lady’s House.




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