A Halloween When Grown-Ups Wore Masks

Brooklyn, N.Y. Halloween at the Varadarajan household started in heinous fashion. Last year we made a last-gasp dash to the drugstore fo...


Brooklyn, N.Y.

Halloween at the Varadarajan household started in heinous fashion. Last year we made a last-gasp dash to the drugstore for a hundredweight of candy to hand out to the hordes who pass by our house in Carroll Gardens, a gentrified former Italian-American redoubt. This year we ordered candy online, to be delivered days in advance. But thieves got to it before we did, whisking the Amazon box from outside our front door, where it had been left while we were out.

The theft was proof of the end of the civic decency that had reigned in the first months of the Covid era. In March, April and May, it was common to find packages sitting unstolen outside front doors, often for days. Even as the pandemic sickened the people of Brooklyn, it led also to an outbreak of probity: People were surviving off these packages, so to steal them from stoops would have been an enhanced sort of sin. Then, around the middle of the summer, the honesty abated. Signs appeared on stoops and gates: “Beware of Thieves.” We lost a delivery of toilet paper in August. And then, last week, the Halloween candy.

So my wife made a trek to the drugstore a few hours before dark on Halloween and returned with a sackful of joy: Twix, Kit Kat, Starburst, Reese’s Pieces, Skittles, Nerds, Butterfingers, Twizzlers—an eruption of confectionary intended to impart the mother of all sugar highs to the youth of the parish.

We’d had concerns that parents wouldn’t let their children out, fueled by a dreary neighborhood initiative, the Halloween Pumpkin Hunt, that would have kids, equipped with maps, look for drawings of pumpkins on the windows of people who’d agreed to take part. (The kids would be rewarded with candy at the end.) Instead, we had the most bracing Halloween in recent memory, with candy-seekers out in greater numbers than I could remember from past years.

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Newsrust: A Halloween When Grown-Ups Wore Masks
A Halloween When Grown-Ups Wore Masks
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