Boo! In Which I Surprise My Neighbors

Make no mistake: I love holiday traditions.

To wit, I love them so much that if it weren't for the fact that I've lived in my current neighborhood for 13 years--and my neighbors know me well--I'd be considered a suspicious person, and need the intervention of law enforcement.

What's the problem? My newest neighbors haven't yet found their Halloween BOO basket yet!

What else would have a 54-year-old grandmother making multiple, unprecedented trips to the corner to see whether or not the BOO basket had been claimed?

So let's back up. Earlier today, my BOO baskets were ready. Compiled 90% from the gift closet, I filled two little green pails (Big Lots Christmas clearance circa 2005!) with a variety of bought-ahead Halloween treats. Ghost pencils. Pretty pumpkin dish towels. Harvest-themed magnetic note pads. Pumpkin-shaped cookie cutters.

A quick trip to the supermarket for cookie mix, frosting and some wrapped candies, I was ready to BOO the two newest neighbors on our block. With both households having school-aged children, I was ready for the ULTIMATE BOO-ing fun.

Next challenge: delivery.

Translation: those of us on the AARP side of the fence aren't exactly the "ring-and-run" class of Halloween BOO enthusiasts. With Neighbor One having a front porch mounted about 22 feet above the sidewalk, I decided to exercise discretion.

I would Deliver The BOO Baskets during school hours.

That way, I figured, I'd be covered. Nobody's home at 2 p.m., right? I could walk (or climb stairs) right to the front door, leave my little basket, and return home to watch the BOO in action.

Okay, the weather demanded a compromise. When a drizzling rain started to fall, I dressed my baskets in clear plastic overcoats to protect them:

So here we go! Imagine that I am humming the theme from Mission Impossible as my little dog Dicksie and I scale the staircase to leave BOO 1 at the door of our neighbors.

This BOO was flawlessly executed. I could see the porch from our living room window, and within 2 hours, the basket had been taken inside and the BOO sign hung on the door for all to see. Score!

But Neighbor 2 has proven a trickier nut to crack. They are such squeaky-clean new neighbors that they don't have curtains yet--as dog Dicksie and I learned when we strolled past their house, trying to appear casual (with a big BOO bucket in our hands).

Yikes! Mom (whom I've not yet met) was pounding computer keys in her office, which had a full and unobstructed view of the porch.

I looked at Dicksie. She looked at me. No WAY could either of us manage to sneak up to the porch, dump the basket, ring the doorbell and RUN. We would have been caught before we made the corner ...

So we decided upon stealth. We strolled past the house as if we were just a lunatic who took a gift basket with her whenever she walked her dog--and then we quick-quick nipped back over the lawn, perched the basket on the edge of the porch, and walked as calmly as we could in the other direction.

But I guess this family doesn't USE the front door.

Because this Doctor's Wife and Pillar Of The Community has been walking her dog HOURLY to the corner where I can spot the poor lonely BOO basket, which is just waiting for its family to claim it.

Damn! I haven't had so much Halloween fun since I dressed up as a pumpkin!

Stay tuned! Will our new neighbors notice their treat? Will Cynthia be forced to adopt guerilla tactics? Only tomorrow's sunrise will tell the tale!

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