HOT SHEET: Trick-or-treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat … or I’ll give you COVID-19

Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020

From the desk of Daniel P. Finney, sergeant of the watch, Drake Neighborhood Station, Des Moines, Iowa.

ITEM ONE: Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie gleefully announced Des Moines will celebrate Beggars’ Night on Oct. 30 with masks (not just the costume kind) required and social distancing protocols active.

Mr. Mayor, can you give the public some idea of what your plan is to contain COVID-19 in the capital? You didn’t issue a mandatory mask order until late August, long after the businesses shuttered and reopened and people started working from home.

Now cases are on the rise in Polk County and you tell everyone, “Hey, take the kids out and collect candy from homes of strangers during the pandemic.”

The typist agrees that the loss of Halloween celebrations would be sad. Children only get so many Halloweens before they graduate from cute kids to just drunk fools in slutty costumes on Court Avenue. Still, having trick-or-treat in the pandemic with cases on the rise seems outright stupid and a little bit mean.

How many of our seniors who would normally welcome children to their doorsteps will have to keep their lights off because they are more at-risk for death from coronavirus?

How many cases of coronavirus will this public-pleasing move create because we all know despite the best efforts of parents, kids don’t always wash their hands well?

ITEM TWO: The Hot Sheet wouldn’t mind a year moratorium on Beggars’ Night because of the pathetic state of riddle and joke telling by our community’s children.

The typist has heard all the whimpering about how children get nervous and the tell a joke to get candy tradition is dumb or that they didn’t do it in the awesome city they used to live in before they moved here to be boring white people.

Bugger off, the ol’ Paragraph Stacker says.

It is not too much to ask a child age 5 or older to memorize two sentences of a G-rated riddle or pun in exchange for candy.

Instead of going out this year, go buy a couple bags of Laffy Taffy and just learn one of the jokes on the wrappers for next year.

ITEM THREE: The typist admits when he’s wrong and he was wrong about ESPN Sports Center super host Scott Van Pelt. When the sports network named him their lead host a few years back, I thought it was foolhardy. I probably tweeted something rude. But you know what? The ol’ Paragraph Stacker’s night isn’t quite the same without a visit from SVP. Thanks for making the pandemic brighter, sir.

ITEM FOUR: I’m just throwing this out there: Bring back Max Headroom. He’d be instantly better than all the current late-night babblers. Think about it.

ITEM FIVE: If not Max Headroom, what about Space Ghost? His Coast to Coast show was a winner for [adult swim]?

ITEM LAST: The typist is too tired to come up with a joke here.

Daniel P. Finney fell asleep three times writing this caption. is free, reader-supported media. Please consider donating to help me cover personal expenses as I continue writing while I pursue my master’s degree and teacher certification. Visit

1 Comment

  1. droll53 says:

    I am the mean person in the neighborhood that traditionally leaves the lights out. A new homeowner in 1983, I excitedly welcomed children to my door and handed out candy. I was pleased by their stupid jokes and slept well that night in my new neighborhood, full of neighborly feelings of esprit de corps. The next morning, the news was reported that a mere block and a half away, someone had run over a small girl and left her dead as they sped off. I swore off Halloween trick or treating. I think still, if people want their kids to enjoy Halloween, they should do it inside. It keeps them safe from countless drunken revelers outside, recklessly driving 1000s of pounds of metal fast; with no regard for small pedestrians. They are also probably texting someone While doing so, these many years later. If I had children, they would hate me for my overly protective instincts. But they would still be alive to forgive me later on.


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