Oh, how fondly I remember the nostalgic Halloween that just happened to fall right in the middle of my “Pippi Longstocking” phase. I had just finished reading those wonderful books by Astrid Lindgren, and was so obsessed with them that I didn’t leave the house for over two months as I created my “Pippi” costume for Halloween and, through weeks of diligent practice and mental discipline, practically became the character. Some of my neighbors eventually grew curious and started trying to peer through my windows to see if I was dead, so I loaded up my pump shotgun and blasted away at them.
BLAM!!! BLAM!!! You should’ve seen those cock-a-roaches run! The shattered glass of my windows exploded out at them like a million tiny shards of sheer terror as I stood there in my Pippi Longstocking costume that I’d just finished in time for that evening’s trick ‘r’ treat fun, firing off a few more loads of blazing buckshot over their heads. I leaned out of the broken window with my gun raised triumphantly and screamed, “I am Pippi Longstocking! A-hope and a-hey and a-hope sha-naa! BASTAAARDS!!!”
My beautiful costume included a really cool red-orange wig with pigtails that stuck straight out on either side of my head and bounced around when I moved. My tattered dress was cutely adorned with colorful patches, and I wore mismatched stockings which served to disguise my hairy legs. Topping off my ensemble was a pair of pointed boots that were twice as long as my feet, and, of course, a sprinkling of freckles painted on each cheek. I felt so cute! I couldn’t wait to finally share myself with a grateful world.
Interrupting my blissful reverie, the phone rang and I snatched it up petulantly. It was Mom, reminding me that Gramps’ funeral was that afternoon. “WHAT THE TIN-PLATED COAL-BURNING HELL’S YOUR MAJOR MALFUNCTION!” I screamed, then composed myself and reminded her that it was Halloween and that I would be busy trick ‘r’ treating. I won’t go into the rest of our conversation since it was private and all–mostly just Mom saying the usual stupid stuff like “But you’re 35 years old” and me snapping back with clever retorts and whatever–so with a final “I HATE YOU!!! I HATE YOU!!!” I slammed down the phone, grabbed my Halloween candy bag, and skipped merrily out the front door.
Being the middle of the afternoon, it was still broad daylight outside. This was part of my clever plan to beat all the other kids to the candy while also showing off my new costume to its fullest advantage. I basked in the attention of passersby as I skipped along the sidewalk, my pigtails flailing wildly about. Presently I passed a street construction crew who were putting in a new water line or something, and they all stopped what they were doing to stare at me. It’s funny, the fine line between naked admiration and total, horrified disgust, but that’s what I saw on their faces as they admired my wonderful costume. “What the hell are you supposed to be?” one of them asked.
“I’m yo’ worst nightmare, FOOL!” I shot back in my Mr. T voice. Then I caught myself and slipped back into character, skipping in place and singing brightly, “I am Pippi Longstocking, a-hope and a-hey and a-hope sha-naa!” This seemed to amaze them into silence, so I continued down the sidewalk as they stared after me with their mouths agape. Presently I came to the biggest house in the whole neighborhood and thought, “Surely they would have the best candy!” So I marched right up the front steps and banged on the door.
An old lady answered, eyeing me suspiciously. “What do you want?” she said.
“Trick ‘r’ treat!” I beamed, skipping in place. “A-hope and a-hey and a-hope sha-naa!”
She looked confused. “It’s three o’clock in the afternoon! I haven’t even gone to the store to buy candy yet!”
“Look, lady,” I said, pointing at her with a sudden air of authority, “it’s Halloween all day long today, not just at a ‘certain time'”–I framed the last two words with finger quotes–“so technically, you’d better have some treats for me or I’ll have to make with the tricks.” I put my hands on my hips and gave her a cutely determined look so she’d know I meant business.
“Get outta here!” she barked, slamming the door.
“That does it!” I cried, jumping up and down. Looking around, I spotted something that seemed ideal for the trick that I was already forming in my fevered mind as a retaliation against the horrible old lady. The construction workers had gone home, but they’d left their equipment behind, so I hopped into the big, bright yellow bulldozer and cranked it up. “Woo-hoo!” I cried as the engine rumbled and roared. Slamming it into gear, I lurched forward and headed up the old lady’s front sidewalk, flattening her flower bed and taking out a birdbath along the way.
She opened the door to see what was going on and recoiled in horror. A split-second later I crashed into her front porch and demolished it in an explosion of wood splinters and wind chimes. The forward momentum carried me right through the front wall of her house and into the living room, which I destroyed with a few wide arcs of the bulldozer. CRUNCH!!! went her TV and her china cabinet, followed by all her other furniture and some of those knick-knack shelves that I was able to deftly shave off the walls. Then the old lady ran out the kitchen door screaming as I burst through the back wall of her house, shrieking “HOPE AND A-HEY AND A-HOPE SHA-NAAAA!!!” at the top of my lungs. In my mind, I was being cutely mischievous and unpredictable, just like the real Pippi!
“TRICK OR TREAT!!!” I screamed, and then began to sing, “I AM PIPPI LONGSTOCKING, WATCH OUT HERE I COME!!!” Steering back onto the main street, I noticed that most of the people who lived in the vicinity had already rushed into their houses and were bringing loads of candy right out to me so that I didn’t even have to knock on their doors or threaten to demolish their houses. It was the best Halloween ever! At least, until the police cars started coming after me. I tried to outrun them but the bulldozer didn’t go very fast, so it wasn’t a very exciting chase. We toodled along at about twenty miles an hour for awhile until I ran out of gas, and then I hopped down out of that wonderful old bulldozer and skipped away real fast with my candy bag overflowing with goodies. The police fired a few shots over my head but I ducked into Old Man Burton’s backyard and disappeared through a hedge.
That night, I sat eating my delicious candy and watching the news reports on TV. The videotape footage was kind of grainy and shaky but my awesome costume could be clearly seen as I sat atop the bulldozer, smashing through picket fences and stuff as people ran in terror. I was still unidentified, so the reporters were describing me with odd, non-specific terms like “freak” and “psycho”, which disappointed me since I’d hoped they would refer to me as “The World’s Greatest Pippi Longstocking Impersonator.” But I guess you can’t have everything.
Mom called later and asked if that was me on the news. “It’s always you,” she added, which totally wasn’t true because there was a lot of stuff on the news that wasn’t me. Like, for example, the Hindenberg disaster. I apologized for the “I HATE YOU!!!” and for not showing up at Gramps’ funeral in my new Pippi costume, which I think made her feel better, so I felt better myself as I hung up. It had been a wonderful Halloween. For some reason, strangely-garbed children kept knocking on my door for the rest of the night expecting me to hand over some of my hard-earned candy to them, but a few random blasts from my pump shotgun seemed to scatter them.