For years I have been writing about "misfits" and "weirdos" and have unintentionally become my own neighborhood's, just that.

Grizelda is a weird neighbor who the kids discover to be loveable as well.

Drinking Fountain Joe is a funny little misfit who is paranoid about germs in his school and becomes a hero.

Gabriel Peters, the hero in my Go Ask Mom series is a funny misfit kid, SO, wouldn't it stand to reason that the author is a bit of each of them?

On Halloween last year, I thought I would add some humor to the evening. So, I donned a makeshift costume (top hat & billy bob teeth) and grabbed a HUGE jug of Parmesan cheese and a big serving spoon. When I answered the door I offered to scoop some parmesan cheese into their treat bags and upon getting a few wrinkled noses said, "Oh, then would you prefer a package of Top Ramen?" and pulled a big bowl loaded with packages of the soup mix. A few confused moments later and with their parents standing off my porch laughing at my sense of humor, I then said, "Oh, okay, so you are candy kids?" and then dumped a handful of candy into each bag. The kids left slightly puzzled at "that author guy is kinda weird..." I overheard several saying. My wife just shook her head and implored me not to do that to the really little kids who wouldn't understand my sense of humor, which didn't actually deter me, heh heh...

Since then I have had three adults at my appearances mention the "Halloween gag" and prompted me to use that in a book somehow.

Several middle schoolers have passed my wife on walks in the neighborhood and mentioned that "Mr. Matott is a crack-up" and that they would actually have liked the cheese if it hadn't covered their candy and the fact is I actually had several kids return to my door that night asking specifically for some cheese or ramen...

ALL IN ALL I think my gag was a success. How many of those trick-or-treaters will remember that when the candy is long gone? Life is about adding interest, humor and fun. I don't mind being a tad eccentric, as long as they also remember that I cared enough to do something that would create a memory.... likely they will just think I was a "weirdo". BUT, ONE OF THE MAIN POINTS HERE IS; I HAD FUN!

One other thing I did on Halloween night was to have a reserve of my alien books right inside the door for any person who came dressed as an alien. Alas, no one did, BUT, as I mentioned this to a group of 4 middle school age girls, one who was dressed as a "Lady Pirate?" liked the idea so much, she whipped out her cell phone and called her mom, demanding green make-up and some other items.

About half an hour later she showed up on my doorstep in a new costume and received her copy of Aliens - all mixed up.

NOTE to trick or treaters in the Highlands Ranch area; next year come as a character in one of my books to receive a readable gift.... I just might give you some parmesan cheese or Top Ramen to go with it...

Life is short - ENJOY every day!