Thing (The Addams Family)
When the children were small my husband and I would spend so much money on “fun” candy for Halloween, as well as candy bars, totaling upwards of 60-80 bags of candy. We would make up trick or treat bags for the children’s classrooms and personal friends that always came by. The rest was used for Halloween night. The candy included, but not limited to, Gooey Eyeball Gumballs, Sweet Tart Witch’s Bones, or Pumpkin Popcorn Balls. Anything was fair game.
Once the bags were made, I would dress up for Halloween (usually as a cow with udders) and go to their individual classrooms to pass out the trick or treat bags and gifts. As Halloween night approached, I’d order four to six pepperoni and cheese pizzas for the many family and friends who would drop in over the next several hours. It was always a festive and fun night for us.
Our next task was decorating the front yard. We had lights, gravestones, and other assorted decorations to put up. But, the most popular item we had was the “Thing Box.” Children would return year after year just to get a handful of candy from Thing. Using the theme from the Addams Family, I had a special box made for Thing (the hand that used to run around the Addams’ Family home), and he would pass out candy every year.
My sister, Barbi, who was born with only one hand, did Thing a couple of times. Sometimes, she would stick her nub up in the box instead of her hand. However, this presented two problems. First, the obvious, she would scare the daylights out of babies and toddlers who didn’t know any better. I wanted the children to enjoy coming back for Halloween, not fear it. The second, she wasn’t able to see who was walking up the way and knocking on Thing’s box so, we came up with a signal to let her know which hand to put through the box.
If I told Barbi, “Thing, someone wants to see you,” or something along those lines, she would know to answer with her missing hand. Otherwise, if I instructed the children, “Knock on the box and Thing will give you some candy,” she knew to be Thing.
Needless to say, it was a riot! Even parents were intrigued and wanted to knock on the box. As a matter of fact, we had one pick-up truck full of children stop and the father, sitting in the bed of the truck with the kids, (he was clearly intoxicated) stumbled up the path and asked if he too could knock on the box and receive a piece of candy.
“Sure,” I answered enthusiastically and then to Barbi (Thing), I said, “Thing, you have a visitor wanting to see you.”
Barbi stuck her artificially blood-covered stump through the box. The man, not paying attention as he’d been watching the children get the candy, grabbed her nub and started walking away. The table was being drug behind him as he clung to her nub pulling her with him. Barbi began yelling for him to let go when he finally realized what was going on.
The following year, he made sure we were on his list of houses to visit. When he came back he said, “I’m not drunk this year and I want to try it again.”