Marianne and Charlie were out gathering materials for a book report diorama. Charlie was certain that he could make an amazing replica of Willie Wonka with twigs and clay if he could only find the right twigs. Isaac offered to come along, but Marianne said that he didn’t have the eye of an experienced crafter, so he stayed home.
It was for the best. He had bills to pay and paperwork to fill out, and he needed to stop putting it off. He’d get right to work, just as soon as he had a snack. He needed to sharpen some pencils too.
Actually, it turned out that there were a lot of things that he really should get done. There was that wobbly chair leg, and didn’t the bathroom faucet leak? Isaac was halfway to the garage for his toolbox before he stopped himself. Procrastination wasn’t the answer here.
And so he sat down at the kitchen table with all the paperwork spread out in front of him and got to work. It was never as bad as it seemed. In fact, in less time than he expected, he was addressing the last envelope and setting it on the pile of things to send.
Just then, the doorbell rang. Isaac stood up and stretched. He hadn’t heard Marianne and Charlie come home yet, so he was the only one home to answer the door.
When he opened the door, the man on the front step burst into song. He was dressed in black from head to toe and carrying a scythe, but he was smiling as he sang, so he seemed friendly.
“On the first day of Halloween, my true love gave to me a vulture in a dead tree…”
The man continued singing. Two hooting owls, three ravens, four squeaking bats, five spider rings…all the way to thirteen trick-or-treaters. Isaac applauded when he finished.
“So, you’re a Halloween caroler?”
The man turned away and put in some plastic vampire teeth. He turned back and grinned. “Yesh.”
“Isn’t it a little early? Halloween is more than a month away.”
The man shrugged and his black cloak rustled. “We’re already halfway through Halloween sheashon.” He turned and took the teeth out, shoved them in his pocket, and then began singing again.
“We wish you a happy Halloween… and a night full of fear. Now give me a candy apple…”
When the man began singing about how he wouldn’t leave without a candy apple, Isaac felt a little nervous. He really wasn’t prepared for carolers. Nevertheless, he applauded the caroler and hurried back to the kitchen. He returned with the fruit bowl.
“I have dairy-free, sugar-free, tree-friendly caramel apples.” Isaac held out the bowl of apples. “Take several.”
The man put in the plastic vampire teeth again and looked into the bowl. “I shuppose they are healthier that way,” he said at last. Then he took two apples and dropped them into a bag that had been sitting behind him, hidden by his black robes. It looked nearly full.
“Is that all caramel apples?” Isaac asked, impressed.
“No, moshtly candy.”
“People buy candy this early? It’s not even October.”
“It’s Halloween sheashon. Why do you think they have it in shtoresh thish early?”
“I guess that makes sense. Thank you for the carols.”
The man nodded and left. Isaac took the bowl back to the kitchen and filed away the paperwork. He left the stack of things to put in the mail on his desk.
At this point, he decided the wobbly chair leg and the leaky faucet could probably wait another week. He sat on the couch and read until Marianne and Charlie came home. He nearly finished a chapter.
“We had a Halloween caroler,” he announced.
“Did you give him candy from the bowl in the pantry?” Marianne asked.
“What candy? We have candy for carolers?” Isaac started going through the pantry. There was a bowl of mini candy bars on the top shelf.
Marianne looked over his shoulder. “Of course we do. Why do you think they have the candy in stores this early?”
“What did he sing?” Charlie asked.
“Well, it was a little strange. They were Christmas songs with Halloween words.”
Charlie rolled his eyes. “That’s what makes them Halloween carols. It’s too bad we missed it. I can’t believe you didn’t give him any candy.”
“I gave him apples. They’re healthy.”
Charlie frowned. “I’m glad mom buys the Halloween candy we give out.”
“Why have I never heard of Halloween carols? I didn’t even know there’s a Halloween season! When did this all happen?” Isaac wondered if they were playing some kind of trick on him. But Marianne and Charlie just looked at each other and shrugged.
“I don’t know, Dad. Maybe you were always reading or something and missed it.” Charlie held up a bag and shook it up. “We’re going to work on my diorama. Do you want to help?”
They were inviting him to help with a craft project? Carolers and Halloween season forgotten, Isaac happily followed them into the kitchen. He loved books, so he was certain to be a lot of help with book report dioramas. How hard could it be?
It turns out that it was harder than he thought.