Bring your own toilet paper

By Casey Toner

What else would the Weekender do? We sent an idiot in a Winnie the Pooh costume to really important peoples’ houses to rate their candy. How did the prominent NIU figures fare?

Student Association Trustee Kevin Miller wasn’t home. His roommate, however, answered the door in his workout shorts with a look of confusion, as if it weren’t Halloween and I weren’t a 20-year-old man dressed like Winnie the Pooh.

Miller’s apartment mate didn’t have much to say, other than that he didn’t have any candy. He quickly, and rudely, shut the door.

-Miller: Four toilet paper rolls.

Bertrand Simpson, the associate director of University Programming and Activities, wasn’t home. And if he was, his house didn’t seem to be in a very festive Halloween mood. No lights, no pumpkins — not even the color orange.

Not only this, but we spent close to a half-hour searching for his cold and closed-off house. May Freddy Krueger haunt Mr. Simpson in his dreams.

Simpson: Five toilet paper rolls.

Men’s basketball coach Rob Judson and wife Kim proved to be the most generous and hospitable folks the Weekender visited. But their house, much like Simpson’s, was nearly impossible to find.

And not because of a goofy subdivision layout, as was the case with Simpson. Rather, their street wasn’t listed properly in the phone directory. Damn you, Verizon.

But after much toil, the payoff at Judson’s house turned out to be the jackpot. Not only were the Judson’s completely hospitable, they also knew my photographer and handed out full bags of Skittles and full-size Starbursts. Score.

Judson: No toilet paper rolls.

During the course of the night, it became almost common to not speak to the intended NIU figure, but rather their husbands or wives. This was the case with Carol Novak, wife of head NIU football coach Joe Novak.

According to Novak, “The chocolate went fast,” so she had to rely on her backup plan, Laffy Taffy. Mrs. Novak, who lacked in overall candy (Tootsie Rolls? weak), made up with generosity. She gave us extra candy to bring back to the office.

We gregariously accepted her offer and kept the extra sweets to ourselves. Moral of the story: If you make one of your employees dress up like Winnie the Pooh for a story, don’t expect anything in return except for 30 quality inches [editor’s note: 27 — Casey has been known to exaggerate].

Novak: Two toilet paper rolls.

Outside the Novaks’, we ran into a gaggle of trick-or-treaters. The beauty of youth is that 1) they still trick or treat, and 2) they are always willing to talk to journalists.

Anyway, they seemed to be enjoying themselves. We double-checked with them to see if Mrs. Novak was stiffing us with the candy. She wasn’t. Their costumes were fairly interesting. We asked one kid, Darren Baine, 14, what his costume was. Baine was dressed in a sweatsuit. A jogger, perhaps.

“I’m the future of our country,” he said. Scary.

Trick or Treaters: Totally awesome. Five toilet paper rolls to paper Simpson’s house.

Now typically, every block or two is home to at least one person that gives out bags of pennies or nutrition shakes. This is grounds for egging or other tomfoolery. Eddie Williams, NIU’s executive vice president of Finance and Facilities, was this person. But in the case of Mr. Williams, he had run out of candy.

So instead, he was giving out dollar bills. No joke. Unfortunately, the Weekender believes in credible journalism, and taking money from anyone is unethical. So for the first time in our natural lives, we denied free money. No candy … but a free buck? Sweet.

Williams: No toilet paper rolls.

To make this situation even more weird, Williams’ neighbors were having a bonfire in- their driveway. So the Weekender took a break from the trick-or-treating extravaganza, warmed hands by the fire and chatted with the neighbors.

These natives, and neighbors to Mr. Williams, were, believe it or not, NIU alumni — introverted NIU alumni who didn’t want their names in the Star. But they did give us one sweet scoop — the vice provost lives across the street. So, across the street we went.

Gip Seaver opened the door and invited us into the belly of the beast, more commonly known as his house. It wasn’t too terrifying. In fact, it was quite lovely. The Seaver residence was adorned with a crapload of festive Halloween gear.

Seaver gave out packages of Smarties and Nerds — sweet enough to give a dentist cavities. According to Seaver, “All the kids [in the neighborhood] have grown up,” leaving little or no trick-or-treaters left. All the better for us and our makeshift candy basket, also known as a recycling bin.

Seaver: No toilet paper rolls.

DeKalb Mayor Greg Sparrow was out of the house on Halloween. But unlike Novak, who was preparing for another NIU win, Sparrow has no excuse. Dude, he’s the mayor of DeKalb, what else is he doing on Halloween that late at night? His wife, however, was nice, serving us Twizzlers at 8:43 p.m. — 43 minutes after the official trick-or-treat deadline. SCANDAL.

Sparrow: Three toilet paper rolls.

Sycamore Mayor John Swedberg had a lot of one thing: Crunch Bars. That said, because Swedberg’s house was hit up last at a time when most houses close the Halloween doors for the year, Swedberg gave us a half-bowlful of mini Crunch bars — more candy than any other house.

But Mayor, where was the variety? Alas, a man cannot live on chocolate alone. But it was the thought that mattered — that, and about 20 Crunch bars.

Swedberg: One toilet paper roll.

For a second, NIU President John Peters’ house looked empty, dark and dull. But it turns out that we were just late and the presidential lady just turned off the lights a few minutes ago.

Mrs. Peters was extraordinarily generous, handing out several coveted Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and those lovely Smarties. But sadly, we were expecting more, like 24 packs of Pepsi, stock bonds or keys to a Ferrari or something. Oh well.

Peters: Two rolls of toilet paper.