posted: October 23, 2007
Ah, Halloween, the season of ghosts, ghouls, and… Giving!
Around here, the kids have a Halloween tradition that’s right up my alley. It combines juvenile delinquency with kindness. It’s called “Ghosting”.

I had never heard of this until my daughter brought the idea home with her a few years ago. Here’s how it goes: At night, a bunch of kids go around the neighborhood to their friend’s houses, creep up the stairs, quietly place a paper bag in front of the door, ring the doorbell, and then RUN LIKE HELL!

The catch is that the paper bag is filled with candy, along with a note that the recipient has been “Ghosted”. You’re supposed to put the sign up on your door so you don’t get repeat offenders, but somehow, that sign never seems to stay up for long, and before you know it your doorbell’s ringing again.

Since this is an activity that requires exacting parental supervision, I end up driving the getaway SUV. It’s a lot of fun really. We stake out a good out of sight spot, and after the kids do the deed, they come sprinting back to the car, pile in on top of each other, panting, sweating, and screaming “GOGOGO! “and I lay down some serious rubber getting out of there. The next day at school is the great guessing game of who ghosted whom.

As I said, I had never heard of this game in particular, although I have heard stories of a paper bag, dog crap, a match, a doorbell, Mrs. Smith, parents hanging up the phone, and a spanking. Maybe I saw all that in a movie. Maybe not.

*Traditionally, the tag accompanying the bag o' candy is your basic photocopied, handwritten affair. I thought I'd show up the local moms and show what you can do with a computer and 10 minutes.
daveB October 23, 2007
cool image dale! I wish someone would ghost my house with candy...
Jim Paillot October 23, 2007
So that was you on Arbor Day with that darned tree on our front porch. It was cute at first but now we have to squeeze past that darned tree and now I may have Dutch Elm disease. You and those rotten kids!!!
Tim O\'Brien October 23, 2007
What a dad! I have to laugh though, thinking of the game around here. My neighborhood is so multicultural that who knows what a brown bag at someone's doorstep represents? I used to love to go doorbell ringing in my juvenile delinquency days. 2 weeks before Halloween I would get together with friends and sneak up to people's homes, right the doorbell and run. The first night is just the groundwork. Nothing happens. The fun begins 5-8 days in. People were furious and would sit in wait. You'd approach a home and some guy in an Italian T-shirt would scream bloody murder at you as you hightailed it out of there. Soon the police would start to patrol and the fun was just trying to ring one doorbell. You've adapted the game, the running and the fun of it with a kindness...Unless you leave candy at the door of someone with a serious eating problem who has just started their diet. They get the candy, have a nibble, and them they relapse and eat it all then never stop. Did you EVER think of THAT?
Robert Saunders October 23, 2007
Sounds like fun, Dale. Maybe I'll try it this year instead of going around intimidating homeowners for free candy in my usual pirate garb.
Harry Campbell October 24, 2007
We call it the "phantom" in my Baltimore neighborhood, lots of fun, and a good way to get rid of last years candy. Growing up in NJ we certainly did not fill the bag with candy. Oh poor "pinky" the reclusive man in the pink house, boy did he get a lot of shit and eggs etc. So sorry pinky.
Brad October 26, 2007
Is this a re-occurring theme or is it just me? Showing up the neighborhood moms... lol.
HendrixFan October 28, 2007
Dale, Great idea your daughter had with the ghosting. Trick-or-treating is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Sadly enough one of our eldery senile neighbors spooned out egg salad into the kids Halloween bags a few years ago. Ghosting could easily be a fun substitute to a dying tradition. (Simpson's Comic Book Guy voice) I believe the movie you saw the dog doo in the burning paper bag was "Billy Madison". Thank you.