Updated: Jan 24, 2021
October 31st, 1987, Halloween, surely one of my favorite times of the year (where I could plot something evil). My parents and brothers had been invited to a friend's house party and decided to leave me behind with my grandmother. They left the house around 5pm, leaving me with just enough time to plot another devious scheme, this time on my poor grandma. The moment they left the home, I put on my blue-collar boots and went to work.
I had told my grandmother that I had a cold and would be unable to hand out the candies and coins to the children. I wore my pajamas and showed her the thermometer which I had manipulated in order to make it look as though I had a fever. "120 degrees?! You should be in bed!" (no grandma at 120 I should be dead). "No, no grandma, I had some soup and I will stay and help you distribute the candies". "But what if some anglophone kids come by? " wondered my unilingual francophone grandma.. "Oh don't worry about it" I reassured her, not willing to let her ruin my evil plan. "I will write on a piece of paper that you don't speak English and that you wish them a Happy Halloween that way they'll be understanding and patient with you".
Grandma, as naïve as they came, bought my idea, and I began preparing the candies and the written notes that granny would be holding up to the anglo trick-or-treaters.
Six o'clock came around, and our first kid-to-be-victim rang the doorbell. I hid in the closet behind my grandmother. "Trick or Treat! Do you have any change for Unicef?" said the 2 small children at the door. "Bonjour les enfants, comment allez-vous?" (hello kids how are you) replied my unsuspecting grandmother, as she went to grab some of the candies from the bowl. And then she would show the kids, one by one, the piece of paper I had given to her to show the kids that she could not understand English. The paper (which I would switch up on her regularly) would read things like "I'm really an ogre and I will eat you and your siblings" , "Let me nibble on your ears, my dear midgets", or "Very proud of my camel toes would you like to see them". The kids, brave enough to ring the door bell after hearing obscenities being aired out on the recorder I had installed outside, looked as confused and perplexed as could be or, those too young to read would pass on the paper to their parents (I had suggested to Granny she encourage this), who, from what I could make out from my privileged viewing spot by the window curtains, were not too impressed.
On to stage 2 of ridiculing my grandmother. I waited till things were a little less busy and proceeded to walk over to her. "All the kids are laughing at me and giving me weird looks" commented my poor grandma. "Oh that's what you get nowadays, grandma, kids are so ungrateful and childish" I told her, trying to keep the most innocent face I could muster. "Also some of them are asking for money for UNICEF I noticed and I just remembered I have a bunch of Mc Donald's coupons for free stuff. Grandma they'll love you when you give them these. You'll be their hero. Actually I also have some gift certificates from Toys-R-Us." "Thank you so much, I'm so happy I can count on you" was my grandma's response. But these were no coupons or gift certificates, instead, they were a potpourri of Monopoly dollar bills, silly pictures and also colored paper which I had tailored to look like coupons. "This coupon can be redeemed in exchange for a toy. Please see terms and conditions on reverse side."
Again, the kids who could read would be overjoyed but then flip the fake coupon around only to see the conditions attached "To win your prize you must be over 6 feet tall, you must perform an act that amuses me, and you must also get on hands and knees and bark like a dog ten times." Needless to say, not a kid claimed their prize. I recall one particular coupon which read "You can instantaneously win 50$ if you pin the tail on the donkey attached to my lower back" You see I had cut out from one of my brother's books, a large picture of a donkey and drawn a bull's eye in the middle and left a pinnable tail at the doorsteps. One bold kid, probably too old to be trick or treating, decided to test his luck, and as my grandmother turned around to grab more candies for some other kids, tried to stick the tail on grandma's upper buttocks. Grandma immediately turned to him and yelled "Tu n'as pas honte! Allez vas-t-en" (you should be ashamed of yourself go home!) upon which the teen started running for his life.
All the while, I stood in the background , popping my head out of the closet wearing one of my silly masks and making faces or holding up signs to these kids to further emphasize that they had to beware of my grandma. Grandma eventually began to wear down and seemed beyond irate.
This was actually the moment when The Grinch began to grow a heart, and, showing a tidbit of mercy, decided to end the festivities. I told grandma to close the lights and not to open the door anymore, trying to contain my laughter as best I could and thinking I had gotten away with this latest prank, when, coming up the staircase to our house, were two angry-looking police officers. Much to my displeasure, the night was only just beginning.