Editorial: Lies Our Parents Told Us

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Each year when Halloween would roll around, I’d hit the road in my Ben Cooper plastic mask/vinyl jumper and troll the neighborhood for candy. But I wasn’t free to go to any house I wanted—instead, I was strictly instructed by my mother to stay away from that one house down the block that stood out because of its overgrown brush and unmanicured lawn.

I grew up on a quiet block in Plainview where nothing ever happened. So this one dilapidated house was often the topic of conversation between mothers and the subject of creepy stories of local children. The “red house down the road” should be avoided at all costs because who knows what terrors are hidden behind its weird front door that didn’t match the rest of the house.

So I’d avoid the one weird house and direct my candy radar toward the well-kept homes with pristine lawns and perfect asphalt-topped driveways, where the inhabitants definitely weren’t weirdos or child molesters.

OK, the first half of this story is a lie. The “red house down the road” with the overgrown brush and weird door did exist, but it was my house. My parents never much worried about lawn care, I guess. My childhood home in Plainview was the subject of twisted tales by neighborhood children, with stories running the gamut from questionable experiments being conducted in the garage to it being the actual home of The Munsters.

The truth is far more boring. It was just a regular home filled with regular people. The house across the street on the other hand—with the clean yard, intact window shutters and neatly trimmed bushes—that guy used to water his lawn while wearing “tighty-whitey” underwear, brown loafers and no shirt. Would you send your children there for candy? I wouldn’t.

The point is, based on a home’s exterior, you don’t know who’s the weirdo and who is just a boring family with other things to worry about than yard cleanliness. You’re better off ordering your kid’s candy from Amazon.

—Steve Mosco

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