I’ll never forget my first time.
It was the witching hour in my home – bedtime with toddlers. I had just finished giving my Irish-twins their bath when my doorbell rings. My spine stiffened. My husband was still at work in the black hole we called the Pentagon. I don’t know anyone in my neighborhood; I just moved here a few months before.
Why is someone ringing my doorbell? Don’t they know it’s 7 pm – that’s so close to midnight when you have two in diapers! Maybe a neighbor is in trouble, or maybe someone stole my car? Or maybe it’s an intruder – no doubt, a polite intruder… knocking on my door. What do I do?
Curiosity gets the better of me, so I creep downstairs with the aluminum bat in my hand, the one I keep next to my bed. It serves as protection, both visually and physically. See, I was a pretty good play softball player in my youth. I’m sure I LOOK scary in yoga pants, a UNLV sweatshirt, and a haphazard ponytail. But know this; I can swing to the fences with that bat.
I peek out the window. No one. Just darkness. I flip on the porch light to see a shadow racing through the bushes. My grip tightens and my adrenaline builds. I begin to turn the latch of the double lock on the door when I catch a glimpse of a package outside. It’s orange and glowing.
Wait, wait! It’s a plastic jack-o-lantern bucket, stuffed with many interesting items. Could it be dangerous, this package stuffed with candy, glow sticks, spider rings and plastic eyeballs?
I’ve been BOO-ed! That’s right! This neighborhood tradition of scaring up friends has arrived at my doorstep and couldn’t be happier! Inside my package is a sign that says “I’ve Been Boo’d” along with a cute little poem that says:
The air is cool, the season fall,
Soon Halloween will come to all.
Ghosts and goblins, spooks galore…
Tricky witches at your door.
The spooks are after things to do,
In fact, a spook brought this “Boo” to you!
The excitement comes when friends like you,
Copy this note and make it two.
We’ll all have smiles upon our faces,
No one will know who “BOO”ed who’s places!
Just two short days to work your spell,
Keep it secret, hide it well.
No one knows how this tradition began, but we do know that it’s the perfect way to spread the Halloween spirit to your friends and neighbors. Ever since my first BOO five years ago, I’m now usually the first person to start the tradition on my street, no matter where I live.
The gist of BOO-ing someone is easy and cheap. Once you’ve been BOO’ed, it’s your job now to spread the fun.
- The first thing you do is place the BOO sign on your front door or window visible to others outside to let everyone know you’ve been BOO’ed.
- You have two (2) days to make two (2) copies of the message and sign, along with two (2) gift packages.
- What goes in your gift package? Anything Halloween themed and cheap. My first trip is always to the $1 section at Target. However, every drug store, Wal-Mart or Dollar Store has these items.
- I usually like to cater my package to the family I’m scaring with the BOO gift. I’ll add home baked goods, baby toys, or if they have teenagers, I’ll add nail polish and crazy socks.
- Sometimes I’ll add a bottle of wine if I think the other SAHM with toddlers needs it. It’s up to you. But don’t spend a lot of money; this is supposed to be a small token of Halloween, not a birthday gift.
You must now deliver the packages to unsuspecting neighbors and friends under the cloak of darkness. Every BOO package should come with a sign and an explanation of the tradition. Remember, you have two days!
The fun part? Watch how fast the “I’ve been BOO’ed” signs pop up in windows and on doors around your neighborhood. It’s the spirit of Halloween!
There are some really cute blogs and websites that offer free printables and package ideas. My favorite is www.itswrittenonthewalls.blogspot.com. They have 16 different versions of BOO printables and cute packaging ideas. You can always search Pinterest for variations of this tradition, too.
So go ahead, play the Ding Dong Ditch game with that new neighbor or quiet family down the street. Just make sure you leave a basket of ghoulish love at their doorstep – you never know if she’s a paranoid SAHM and former all-star softball player carrying a bat.
*A previous version of this article appeared in Military Spouse Magazine.