Humor by Greg Schwem

I have a few questions for every kid who rang my doorbell this past Halloween:

Do you have any idea how to trick or treat? Do you even know what you're supposed to do when I answer the bell? WHY DIDN'T I JUST SHUT THE DOOR IN YOUR CONCEALED FACE?

OK, before everybody thinks I'm the neighborhood grump who pulls out his best Clint Eastwood "Gran Torino" impression each Oct. 31 and growls at kids to "get off my lawn," let me argue to the contrary. I love Halloween, love seeing little girls tepidly approach my door in their Dorothy, Snow White and (thankfully toned down) Katy Perry costumes; love commenting how the boys' Dracula outfits had me frightened before the doorbell even rang; love waving at the parents who wait on the sidewalk while their kids rush from house to house before it gets dark.

Unfortunately, this year those tykes were few and far between. Instead I was treated to throng after throng of kids between 10 and 16 who rang my bell and, when I answered, stood there silently waiting for me to make the next move. No "trick or treat," No "Hi, Mr. Schwem," and especially galling, no "thank you" when I deposited candy into their bags. One little skeleton even had the nerve to look at the Tootsie Pop I gave him and ask, "Can I have a Hershey bar instead?"

"Why don't I just open my wallet and you can pick something out?" I replied.

"Can I?" he asked.

"No. And get off my lawn."

Apparently this age of entitlement among today's youth has extended to Halloween. "May I please have some candy" has been replaced by "gimme." It's time for treat givers to be ready when these kids pound on the door next year. This handy quiz should help:

Four 16-year-olds, dressed as "high school students," ring the doorbell while a fifth waits in your driveway, idling the engine. Do you . . .

A) Remind them that candy causes unsightly acne blemishes

B) Tell them that this year, you are posting "virtual candy" on their Facebook pages

C) Drop summer job applications into their bags

D) All of the above

A trick-or-treater dressed as Batman mumbles "gross," "yuck," "really?" or a combination thereof when you hand him candy. Do you . . .

A) Show him pictures of people in Third World countries waiting in line for days to get bags of rice

B) Apologize, tell him you keep some other candy on layaway and invite him to come back in 2022 to get it

C) Compliment him on his Catwoman costume

D) All of the above

Instead of saying "trick or treat," a group of kids rings your doorbell and stands there silently, bags thrust open, when you answer. Do you . . .

A) Stare silently back at them until they get creeped out and leave

B) State that, since the group seems indifferent to trick-or-treating, you think one Milk Dud split five ways is sufficient

C) Say, "I love charades!" and start acting out a scene from Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video

D) All of the above

One hour after your town's allotted trick-or-treating time has expired, six kids with bags bulging come to your door and say, "It's about time somebody answered." Do you . . .

A) Say, "Thanks for interrupting my 7 p.m. dialysis treatment"

B) Reply, "No problem. I was just about to start watching 'America's Most Wanted' and see if I made it on this week"

C) Produce a fake policeman's badge and ask if they know the meaning of "curfew"

D) All of the above

While you are handing out candy, one trick-or-treater whips out her iPhone and begins texting. Do you...

A) Remind her that you have a "verbal trick or treating" rule at this house

B) Say, "I was going to give you an apple but it looks like you already have one"

C) Drop an iTunes card in her bag

D) A and B

If you answered D to all of the questions, then congratulations, you are ready to open your house to trick or treaters in 2013. Until then, check back shortly before Easter to read tips on how to respond to kids who say, "Just show me where the eggs are!"

Humorist Greg Schwem is a stand-up comedian and author of Text Me If You're Breathing: Observations, Frustrations and Life Lessons From a Low-Tech Dad

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