During Tom's and my visit to Los Angeles the week before last, all around the neighborhood Halloween was in the air,
...and the mailboxes.
When my daughter returned home from work she unraveled the mystery for the rest of us: She had received a text from the mother of one of my grand daughter's classmates asking permission to "boo" my grand daughter, to boo being apparently a new verb form meaning to leave a surprise of a small bag of treats outside the house of a friend without revealing one's identity. However it appears that boo-acceptable protocol involves the mother of the booer asking advance permission to boo of the mother of the booee.
Now, though this was the first time anyone in the family had experienced a booing, all of us, adults and children alike, instinctively knew that when one is booed one is socially obligated boo back, which meant that one of the adults was now going to have to run to the store some time in the very near future to buy a small bag and some treats and then drive over to the booer's house to surreptitiously boo them back.
However, the following evening the same grand daughter was booed again by another classmate who left another bag of not altogether unhealthy treats. Now two reciprocatory boo bags of semi-healthy treats had to be assembled and delivered.
By then both of our grand daughters were in the spirit of the boo. The one who had been booed twice not only wanted to boo back her booers, but wanted to boo several other of her friends. Our other grand daughter who had not yet been booed nonetheless wanted to boo half a dozen of her friends as well.
Their parents compromised, allowing the girls a total of ten boos between them, and the following afternoon after school Tom and I took the girls to the Dollar Tree to pick out ten boo bags and an assortment of somewhat healthy treats to fill them.
Deciding which friends to boo was fun for the children, as was shopping for the bags and treats and assembling the boo bags. But then came the parental tasks of contacting the parents to ask permission to boo then finding the time to drive all over the town to do the booing. It turned out to be quite a schlepp.
I can only imagine that the practice of booing, having begun, will not go away but will likely lead to an era of boocular proliferation in future Halloweens.
But then maybe after a while all the over-worked, over-extended, over-exhausted parents will mobilize to ban the boo, dropping on the practice a group kibosh,
...(the origin of which word comes from a Gaelic word meaning "coif of death").