Yesterday, as in pretty much every year past, we handed out comic books rather than candy to the trick-or-treaters who came to our door. Unlike previous years when the holiday has fallen on the weekend, the turnout was relatively light. We had fewer than forty kids come to the door.
Yes, I'm sure even forty sounds like a lot to some of you. One of the women I work with said she had only one kid ring the doorbell. But we've had Halloween Saturdays and Sundays in past years where we've given out more than 100 comics; those were the days when, despite the fact there were no cellphones, word spread quickly among the kids that there was a house giving away comic books.
One year, there was a kid who was such a big comics fan that he kept going home and changing his costume so he could come back and get another. When I finally told him that recognized him and that he had to stop, he was startled. But I made his day when I told him that if he came back the next day, I would give him whatever was left over.
Back in the days when I was still working at DC Comics and they published such books as Ghosts, The Witching Hour and House of Mystery, it was fairly easy to amass a group of appropriate books to distribute. In more recent years, however, as even the mainstream DC titles have become a bit too graphic, I've limited what I give out to the "kids' line" of titles, supplementing what I have with issues of such titles as Animaniacs and Heathcliff that are left over from the days when Chuck and Sammi were young.
Among yesterday's highlights:
* A little boy dressed as Superman was thrilled to get an issue of Super Friends with the Man of Steel on the cover. I got the feeling he knew Superman only from TV cartoons and had no idea there was a print version.
* Five teenaged boys, apparently costumed as teenaged boys, were surprised to get issues of Tiny Titans instead of candy. "Bet you thought you were going to get something to eat," I said.
One of them replied, "Yeah!"
"Don't eat these," I warned. "The staples can get caught in your digestive tract."
* A man dressed in costume was carrying his infant son who was asleep in a pumpkin-snuggy. I think it will be a few years before the child will be reading the issue of Looney Tunes. And I presume it will be Dad who will be eating the candy rather than saving it till Junior has teeth.
* The copies of Animaniacs and Heathcliff I gave out yesterday were older than the kids who received them.
My favorite Halloween story of all, though, happened a few years ago. After I dropped a comic book into a little boy's bag, he looked at it and ran back to his mother on the sidewalk, shouting, "Mom, he gave us mail!"