Growing up in a tiny Northern New York town, kids get creative. Scratch that. Innovative. My friends and I – we took the cake.

Or so we thought.

It was late October, senior year, and we were feeling innovative. The air was unseasonably warm that night: perfect to venture out and go on one of our famous-to-us missions. My friend Kim had a beat up old, thrice-passed-down, blue station wagon that had served us well since sophomore year. As we drove through town that night in The Beast, selectively shopping for pumpkins from the home porches of neighbors, teachers, fellow students’ families and random townspeople, we hadn’t yet decided the fate of our backseat garden. So, we waited; we decided to venture out the next evening to expand our collection.

Little did we know, we hadn’t been as sly as we’d previously thought in our egotistical, overconfident minds. We’d been caught… orange-handed. Mrs. Pecore, a friend of a friend’s mother, called us out on our pre-Halloween thievery. That darn Darcy was recognized! And ohhh, that curmudgeon Mrs. Pecore was bitter. She gave Darcy’s parents an earful, who in turn, grounded Darcy, who by the way, did not rat us out.

Of course, we had to retaliate. Mrs. Pecore couldn’t get away with her attempt at nailing us mid-mission. In the words of The Outsiders, we had to do it for Darcy.

We parked The Beast around the corner. We waited. And waited. It was the night before Halloween, not to mention a school night; surely it was time for porch lights to turn off. Forty-five minutes in, her house went dark. Game on. One by one, we delivered each pumpkin to Mrs. Pecore’s front lawn. Crouched down, each of us perfecting our tiptoe run—like the characters in a 1980s cartoon—we ran from tree to tree to car in the street, ensuring no one saw us.

There were five of us and it took almost 30 minutes; we had no idea how many pumpkins had been collected. In the end, we capped it off with a homemade sign in her yard that stated, “Prickly Pecore’s Pumpkin Patch. $1 Each.”

Game over. We won.

The next afternoon, on our way home from school, in full arrogance, we drove past our masterpiece. And wouldn’t you know, Prickly Pecore was out front selling those pumpkins.