Boo to You, Too

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I remember when being booed was a bad thing.  For politicians, musicians, comedians, athletes, and performers, the ultimate sign of displeasure and rejection.

According to, “Booing performers has a very long history. The first written record comes from ancient Greece. At the annual Festival of Dionysia in Athens, playwrights competed to determine whose tragedy was the best.”

Now kids feel it’s tragic if they aren’t booed.

It’s easy. Fill a brown paper lunch bag with candy or other Halloween treats,  print out the little ghost and poem you can find anywhere online by googling “Booing for Halloween” and attach it to the bag. Leave the bag on friends’ doorsteps and the attached paper will instruct them to make copies and do the same for others.

This new tradition of “booing” during October combines the thrill of ding-dong ditch, the joy of anonymous giving, and the warm fuzzies of paying it forward. The giver has just as much fun as the receiver.

Last Saturday we were the givers, and fun, it was –  in a sort of comedy-of-errors way.  We piled in the minivan with our booing contraband and headed out. In Newport, it can be a challenge to pull off the whole anonymous candy-bearing ghost thing when someone hasn’t left your name at the gate.

When we approached a neighborhood in which a few people on our list live, I tried to appeal to the guard’s Halloween sensibilities, even showing him the kids’ bags. But, to the reassurance of the community members who pay homeowners association fees, he didn’t budge. He called one of the people on our list, who granted us access to the neighborhood, but not before I made him promise to tell them that it was a surprise and to not mention anything to the kids.

The first two houses went off without a hitch. Leave the bag, ring the bell, run like Freddie Kruger is after you, push and shove your way past your siblings into the car, giggling, just in time. As mom pulls away, duck so you can’t be seen.

We then headed to our cousins’ house in the same neighborhood. I knew the general area of her street, but they haven’t lived there long and I was getting disoriented in the dark. The streets began to look very similar, and I couldn’t be certain which cul de sac was theirs. Finally, I found it. The kids jumped out with the little paper bag filled with candy for their cousins, placed it in front of the front door and rang the bell. Immediately a large dog began to bark from the inside.

I yelled from my behind the steering wheel of the idling getaway car, “It’s the wrong house! They don’t have a dog! Get the candy!”

Too late.

As I finished the sentence, the porch light came on, causing the kids to squeal and run faster, and just as they piled in, we would have burnt some serious minivan rubber, were it not for the child safety molasses sliding doors that must be entirely shut before putting the car in drive. Finally we began to drive away, just as a woman opened the door to pick up our cousins’ candy bag. Hopefully she had kids.

That was the last bag of candy. The night of booing complete, admittedly without the grace of Grecian ghosts, we hope the surprises put smiles on the faces of our friends.  With the promise of another covert operation before Oct. 31, that will include the cousins, the kids were satisfied. Our booing bloopers kept us laughing all the way.

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