The Greatest Halloween Ever

Each year as Halloween approaches we get out the box of decorations to make the house seem more festive. The kids look forward to this as it means Halloween is approaching and soon they will have baskets full of candy that they will hoard and ration until nearly Christmas.

While we are hanging ghosts, cobwebs, and fake spiders conversation naturally turns to past years and the memories they have of dressing up and going trick-or-treating. After a few stories the conversations always gravitate to their most memorable Halloween.

In the case of our family, 2001 will go down as the most unforgettable Halloween of our whole lives. At the time we had four children at home. Our oldest daughter had left for college just a month prior and it seemed odd not having all the kids home.

It was a sobering time in American history. The World Trade Center in New York City had been destroyed just six weeks prior. Fear and uneasiness still haunted the average citizen. The nation had been humbled but life was going on.

Our kids were looking forward to going trick-or-treating in the neighborhood but Halloween was not the primary topic of conversation in our house. Ghosts and goblins took a back seat to Diamondbacks and Yankees.

For the first time in history the Arizona Diamondbacks had reached the World Series and as other people were preparing to go out dressed in costumes I was running around the house looking for batteries so that I had a working boom box to take with us so that we could keep track of the game.

After two games in Arizona the series shifted to the Bronx. Game Three was played on October 30, 2001 and the Yankees behind the arm of Roger Clemens had beaten the Diamondbacks 2-1. Brian Anderson had thrown a gem but the New York Yankees were just a little better.

Game Four was scheduled to be played on Halloween night. There was a harvest moon that was full during Game Three and still shone brightly for Game Four. The Arizona Diamondbacks were sending Curt Schilling to the mound to face Orlando Hernandez and the New York Yankees.

This was one of those games that people will talk about their entire lives. The game was working out perfectly for the Diamondbacks. The Yankees went up 1-0 in the third inning on a home run by Shane Spencer. Mark Grace would tie the game in the fourth inning hitting a home run himself.

The game would remain tied until the top of the eighth inning when the Diamondbacks scored twice on a double by Erubiel Durazo and a fielder’s choice by Matt Williams. With a two-run lead in the ninth inning the Diamondbacks brought in Byung-Hyun Kim to close the game.

With two outs and a runner on first Kim gave up a home run to Tino Martinez tying the game and forcing extra innings. In the bottom of the tenth inning Kim would give up his second home run of the game to Derek Jeter to give the Yankees a 4-3.

It wasn’t just this epic game that my kids remember that night. Earlier that day we had received a phone call from Fox-10 television station. During the play-offs they had contacted us and asked if they could do a story on a fan’s perspective of the Diamondbacks going to the post season.

During the NLCS they came to our house and interviewed me and my wife Trina. They had also followed us around the ballpark documenting what it was like to be an average fan.

With the World Series now in New York the television station wanted to know how a fan kept track of the team and the game especially on Halloween. They asked if they could come by the house and follow our routine for the evening.

So as the kids were donning their Halloween costumes, a television camera crew was setting up to go with us as we went through the neighborhood. As we set out there was Trina and I along with our four kids plus a reporter and a cameraman.

This is the part the kids remember. A local television camera man would follow the kids up to each house and begin filming as they rang the doorbell. As the door opened, the expression of the person in the house was priceless.

Perhaps the funniest part of this was how quickly the treats changed from small penny candy to full sized candy bars when the camera was rolling. To this day the kids comment on how much better the treats were that year than in any year before or since.

It would take us weeks after Halloween before we could talk to the neighbors without this incident being brought up. So while I will forever remember Halloween 2001 as being the scariest and soul-wrenching Halloween of my life with Kim blowing a two-run lead; my kids remember it as the year they hit the jackpot and went trick-or-treating with the television crew. Either way it will be a holiday our family will never forget.

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