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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: A few weeks ago, I returned home after mowing the lawn at my mother's place and parked my truck behind my house. I left the lawnmower and a 5-gallon can of gas in the bed of my truck and went into the house for a drink of water. When I returned, the gas can was missing.

I bought another can, filled it with gas and added 2 pounds of sugar. Again, I parked my truck in the same spot with the gas can visible. An hour later, it too had disappeared.

A short while later, I noticed a neighbor's son and his friends pushing his car up the street. They said they had "engine problems." My wife thinks what I did was wrong and that I should offer to pay for this lad's engine repairs. What do you think? -- "A-GASSED" IN ILLINOIS

DEAR "A-GASSED": I disagree with your wife. What if the boys had another kind of engine problem and this was just a coincidence? I'm sure whoever stole your gas got an expensive lesson. Let's hope it also saved them from a life of crime.

DEAR ABBY: Please help with a question about Halloween trick-or-treating etiquette. What do you do when the parents of the children who are trick-or-treating present you with their own candy collection bag? This happened to me several times last year.

Some of the adults said they were collecting for a child who wasn't there or for infants and toddlers in strollers. Others didn't even offer a reason, even after I asked them what their "costume" was supposed to be. Thanks for your input, Abby. -– KATHLEEN B., SPRINGFIELD, MASS.

DEAR KATHLEEN: While Halloween is supposed to be a holiday for children, many teens and adults enjoy the idea of free candy and trick-or-treating, too. In years past my doorbell has been rung by revelers who looked so old I was tempted to offer them a martini.

As I see it, you have two choices: Buy enough candy to go around, or turn off all the lights and hide. In my experience, it's better to do the former.

DEAR ABBY: I have been dating a man with post-traumatic stress disorder. He takes anti-depressants and sleeping meds, and has for many years. Because he fought on the front lines in Vietnam, he deals with nightmares related to PTSD.

He loves me and wants to marry me, but I worry because his first three marriages didn't work. I care about this man, but I'm a little scared of the future and how his PTSD will affect us. What should I do? -- LOVES MY VET

DEAR LOVES: I assume that because your boyfriend is on anti-depressants and sleeping medication, he is also under a doctor's care. Has he also received psychiatric treatment for his PTSD?

While this question may seem obvious, I'm sad to say that some soldiers from as far back as WWII "slipped through the cracks" and suffered their entire lives with night terrors and difficulty forming close relationships because they never received the treatment they needed. If your boyfriend hasn't received professional help, insist that he get it -- because unless he does, yours will be failed marriage No. 4.

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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