More kids! Oh, no! More kids, and I'm almost out of cinnamon bears — $18.97 worth of cinnamon bears in 20 minutes. Let's see, that's $56.91 per hour. How long will this last? Three hours? Four? More?

More kids! Oh, no! More kids, and I'm almost out of cinnamon bears — $18.97 worth of cinnamon bears in 20 minutes. Let's see, that's $56.91 per hour. How long will this last? Three hours? Four? More?

Next year, I'll do something cheap on Halloween. Like attending a $1,000-per-plate fundraiser or a night on Rush Street in Chicago or maybe Bourbon Street in New Orleans. I haven't been there for a while.

Again! Not again, and I'm out of cinnamon bears. Well, good night, lock the doors, off with the lights. No! Wait! I have some 4-year-old saltwater taffy that I put in the freezer after that trip to Atlantic City. It's this or nothing. The taffy is older than the kids are. It's stale and hard as a rock but, what the heck, probably good for their jaws.

What next? Hot dogs! Kids love hot dogs, and I always have dozens in the freezer. But frozen? How will I get them apart? Boiling? But no time. Wait, this is the nuclear age, I can nuke them and increase production. Nuked, limp hot dogs for a treat? Oh well, that or nothing. Eight to a package, three packages equals 24 kids.

What next? Frozen french fries. What a great idea. Everyone grab a handful of frozen french fries. I have no time to nuke them, but Mom can at least do that much, can't she? Well, can't she? Good grief, the parents have to do something, don't they?

Come on Skip, calm down. Calm down! Don't panic. There's got to be some way out of this mess. What else do I have? Eggs, what a great idea. But wait! No time to boil them and can't nuke eggs, I don't think. That's the problem, I just can't think. I know I can't give out raw eggs. I'd probably get them back on my windows or my car. I better not chance it.

Kool-Aid! What about all that Kool-Aid from last summer? OK, now I'm thinking. Eight packages, eight more kids. Ah, ha! What about these two envelopes of dried-onion soup mix. Why not? What do I have to lose at this point? And a ranch dressing and two packages of yeast, for good measure. What the hell, they will never notice the difference until they get home. That will teach them to eat all my cinnamon bears.

Great, more kids. How long can this go on? Now the cats want in every time the door opens. Sardines! Another great idea! Ingenious really. How about sardines in mustard sauce? Cats and kids, spooks and ghosts, Draculas and princesses — each with a yellow sardine in their sack. Pork and beans next, sports fans. Calm down, Skip. Cool off. Better watch it. You're losing control.

What else, though? Matchbooks! That's it. Hand out matches. Just sit back with my fiddle and watch Medford burn. Wait, I have no fiddle and wouldn't know what to do with it if I had one. And do I really want Medford to burn? Skip! Skip! Snap out of it. You're getting irrational now. Get a grip on yourself. It's only Halloween.

Great! More darned kids. Cats are howling now. All I need is the skunk that hides under the kitchen and that ugly, oogly possum that sneaks up on the porch and eats the cat food. That's it! Cat food. OK, from now on, help yourself to the cat food. Kids, cats, skunks, possums, moms, dads, spooks, ghosts, Draculas and princesses — take it all. I don't care.

What? You don't like dry cat food? Well here, take this. The old ice-cream scoop full of canned cat food. Right in the old sack. Mix that up with your popcorn balls. Three flavors to choose from: liver, fish and one that only Dracula would recognize.

I can't go on like this: sweating, chills, mumbling incoherently. God only knows what I said to those kids, or even what I gave them. What is happening to me? Well, at least the door hasn't rattled lately. Maybe I can just rest for a while. This couch is so soft, and it is so quiet now. I am so tired. My eyes are so heavy.

As I slowly drift off to sleep, I have visions of hordes of little spooks straggling down the sidewalk, all dragging their little orange sacks filled with slowly melting ice cubes. A smile gradually appears on my Halloween battle-torn face.

I have finally found peace on Halloween.