Please Take One

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Happy Halloween!

Please read the following carefully, then tick the box next to your name using the pen that’s attached to a chain — and an alarm system. Checking that box confirms that you accept and agree to my Trick or Treating terms and conditions. If you don’t tick the box, chaos could ensue.

Sorry I can’t personally hand you your one piece of candy, but I’m hiding in the house. Why do today’s costumes have to be so scary? Especially those High School Musical characters!

Anyway, I’m trusting in the honor system by leaving this cauldron of goodies on my porch. It goes against my better judgment after last year’s fiasco when I woke up on November 1 to find my name (and a not very nice word preceding it) spelled out in unsalted peanuts on my driveway. I know you spearheaded that roguery, Jimmy Fulton!

This year, I’ve caved. I’ll be giving out candy instead of peanuts. When I was a kid, I was glad to get any nut — salted or otherwise — for free. But “Generation Y Can’t I Have Candy?” made it abundantly clear that only junk food is acceptable.

Here’s a quick guide to the Trick or Treating fun at my house:

— Anyone inside the parameters of Marshall Avenue down to Amherst Way and Cardiff Drive to Granville Lane is welcome to celebrate Halloween with my candy. (It sounds overly restrictive, but if I open the markers of delineation beyond these streets, chaos will ensue.)

— Odd-numbered houses from 3 p.m. – 4 p.m.

— Even-numbered houses from 4:01 p.m. – 5 p.m.

— Houses that are prime numbers, please don’t step foot on my property. I’m sorry, it’s just this thing I have.

— The impish troika of Jimmy Fulton, Keith Starr and Lawrence Morris: don’t even think of taking my candy. I have strategically placed cameras and people watching you — and attack dogs trained to recognize your scent.

Just a few things to note before you take your one piece of candy:

Each week for the past two months, I’ve taken out an ad in the weekly paper announcing my official Halloween Website: frankferri.com/halloween2009. So it should come as no surprise that you needed to register online before visiting my home today. I also let people know not to come near my property on Mischief Night because I don’t suffer pranksters. If you were shot with a BB last night, I can only say that you were forewarned.

If you haven’t registered on the site, you can do so now by running home and logging onto frankferri.com/halloween2009. If you’re spoiled and have your own portable Web-capable device (and a portable scanner and a notary public with you), you can register right now on my porch. Just step aside and let those who followed the rules get their one piece of candy without delay.

Knowing the dullards in my neighborhood — no offense, neighbors — I probably have to repeat this: To register, you needed to enter your phone number, house number and your name exactly as it appears on your parents’ tax return. You also needed to scan and upload your Social Security Card as well as a piece of mail as proof of address. Everything should be notarized.

If you registered, you would have seen the dancing Candy Corn (animated by yours truly), prompting you to choose your one piece of candy from the drop-down menu in the upper-right corner of the screen. You were to have made a selection and so it could be added to your virtual Trick or Treat bag. The candy you actually take must correspond with the selection you made on the Website. Otherwise, chaos will ensue. (If you visited the TIPS & TREATS section on the Website, you’d have seen a tip telling you to print out your virtual Trick or Treat bag so you remember which piece of candy you selected.) I listed the candy in alphabetical order along with nutrition information for the Type 1 diabetic in our neighborhood, little Danny Cardiff. God bless him. But there’s no need to call attention to his incurable illness. Diabetic Danny is just like anyone else. He just can’t have as much fun on Halloween. Or Easter. Or any other sugar-focused holiday.

As you know, I keep things fun each year with a theme. Last year was “Peanuts: An Unsalted Love Story.” This year’s theme is “Ex Ovo Omnia.” So the candy is all different eggs. You’d be surprised how many creme-, caramel- and peanut butter-filled eggs are available even though it’s not Easter.

Kids get all sugared-up and have the potential to turn this fun holiday into an opera bouffe, so I bought a biometric device to keep things running smoothly. The optical fingerprint scanner was going to ensure that everyone got the right egg. But someone (Fulton!) broke into my shed and smashed it beyond repair. The DNA collection drive — which was also going to help avert chaos — was a failure. Turnout was embarrassingly low. (Thank you, Mark Olsen, for being the only one to show up. I wish I could have let you take two pieces of candy, but my Website is pretty basic and I didn’t have time to include some sort of coupon code functionality that would let you override the one candy limit.)

To the left of the candy, you’ll notice a copper samovar. It’s filled with warm homemade cider. If you’ve brought your own drinking vessel (this was mentioned under the TIPS & TREATS section), you’re more than welcome to have one cup. Just make sure it’s no more than a six-ounce serving. Otherwise, chaos will ensue.

As you can tell, I am very worried that chaos will ensue. You’d worry too if someone filled your gas tank with Peanut M&Ms (Halloween 2006). Or if one day, you found that someone left a colorful chair on your porch, ostensibly as a gift. But when you sat in it, you realized (too late) that it was a bunch of gummi worms woven together in the shape of a chair, and you crashed to the ground injuring your tailbone (Halloween 2007). Or when you go to get your morning paper and find unsalted peanuts mocking you in your driveway — well, I already went into that one. The point is that sadly, chaos does too often ensue.

Happy Halloween!

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