| The Columbus Dispatch
Last week I marched into Lowes and passed the Christmas decorations with barely a glance.
I was there for Halloween, but I skipped those decorations, too.
What I needed was in the plumbing section.
Thirty minutes later, after some internal debate, I walked out with a 10-foot length of 3-inch-diameter PVC pipe and an extended elbow for one end.
As a prototype candy-delivery system, it holds promise.
I’m one of those Halloween nuts, with one of those Halloween houses.
I don’t go big, with a yard full of inflatables. That is fun, but not my style. I aim for overall mood, which is mostly driven by lighting, sound effects, and a fog machine.
I turn the front yard into a cornfield, the front bed into a cemetery, and the front porch into a tunnel of spider webs, occupied by ghosts and a pumpkin-headed goblin with a gardening cultivator and a crooked branch for hands.
This year, for obvious reasons, I was concerned that the goblin and company might not make it out of the basement.
In a good year, close to 200 trick-or-treaters might rap on our door or ring the doorbell; I typically stop counting after I hit 75.
There are times when the yard is a seething mass of munchkins. A tip-toeing tyrannosaurus can gridlock traffic to our door in both directions.
Not ideal in terms of social distancing.
I feared that trick-or-treating this year would be canceled but tried to stay optimistic. I began devising candy-delivery systems in my head weeks before I started seeing them pop up on social media. As time passed, it became clear that I wasn’t the only one committed to making this holiday happen.
While I’d miss the procession of kids ringing the doorbell, I knew that the porch was a bottleneck and had to become a no-go zone. I figured it would serve well as a treat-staging area. I could have tubes running from the porch, extending over the cemetery and into the cornfield where the kiddos and their treat bags waited.
For a while I toyed with the idea of delivering different candy bars from different chutes. But multiple choice tubes would require instructions and might freeze an indecisive kid in his or her tracks. The last thing I wanted was Atlanta at rush hour.
Probably some of you think I’m going overboard.
That is probably accurate.
But I do not want to give up on Halloween. If the governor required it, I would find a way for the lawn sprinklers to fling spinning streams of hand sanitizer.
The pandemic cost my family vacations and paychecks, and I count ourselves lucky. Thousands upon thousands have lost their jobs and loved ones. More than 200,000 have lost their lives.
This year has been awful in so many ways, and while the grown-ups have been doing all the talking about it, the kids might have it harder. Everything they know has been upended. Family, school, sports, friendships. If it is frightening and stressful for us, imagine what it is like for them.
Trapped in this 2020 horror show, they deserve a few hours when they can be spooked one moment and laughing the next, safe in the knowledge that these scares, at least, won’t hurt them.