Halloween Love

Another Halloween behind me and I find myself immersed in memories of past years, thinking on how the holiday has changed and what about it still warms my heart.  While I have never dressed up much, I love the spirit Halloween offers. In fact I like it more than Christmas. To me it's not about the adult parties, although I know many who find them a highlight. For me it's all about kids, creativity, and the big smiles I see on their faces. 

I have a few dim memories of myself trick or treating.  Costumes were simple, sometimes just one of those cheap old-fashioned plastic masks.  The smart kids brought a pillow case to fill, but that was also could draw trouble. My oldest brother had his stolen by some rotten teenagers one year.  The candies weren't as fancy. There home made treats like popcorn balls. And who can forget those tasteless chalky candy cigarettes

I think I was in my 30's before I went to an adult Halloween party. The costumes were over the top and awards were given out.  The winning team that year were a pair that dressed as Ghostbusters and had made their own light-up ghost finders that looked just like in the movie.  It was an eye opener. I had lots of fun, but Halloween didn't come into its own for me until I had young kids. 

There is something about a tiny tot dressed up as a bee, an avocado or a lady bug. My heart goes ka-thump, ka-thump.  They don't even need a candy holder as they are too little to eat any. But it was great fun taking them around so the neighbors could see them. When a little older, my kids were still nervous of the scary costumes, so we did our rounds early which allowed us to spend a few minutes at each place talking with our neighbors.

As they grew, my kids began to have opinions on what they wanted to wear. Many times it wasn't something I could buy.  One year my oldest (still young) decided to be a Pterodactyl. Fortunately I sew.  While the head piece was pretty unimpressive, I did manage to pull off something that vaguely looked like a dinosaur in orange. For several years I made all their outfits, but eventually they wanted to wear costumes the other kids were wearing such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It was easier, but also sadly the end of an era.

Our old neighborhood had few street lights. Fewer and fewer kids came around, so most houses ended up turning their lights off. We started to visit friends on Halloween who lived in a well-lit, busy neighborhood. It was very safe, so the kids could run around in a big bunch without supervision. That's when Halloween seriously began to lose a little magic for me. I was no longer out there surrounded by excitement and high energy. I wasn't even handing out the candy. The magic ended completely when my kids reached an age they stopped going out altogether. 


Halloween became a welcome time again about nine to ten years ago. We moved into a well-light, lovely strata home.  Our first Halloween we were shocked in the best way.  The doorbell started ringing at six and didn't finish until almost nine.  Every time we opened it, fabulous young ones with big smiles would shout TREAT OR TREAT. After getting a candy (or two), they would smile and say, "Have a Happy Halloween!" before turning and running off to the next house. We ran out of candy.

Behind them on the street were groups of parents socializing, some enjoying a glass of wine or can of beer. It looked like a giant block party full of high spirits with lots of laughter and happy conversations. Over the ensuing years, the parent party tamed to smaller groups escorting the younger kids sans alcohol, but the smiles and well wishes have stayed the same.  Every kid, no matter the age, who comes to my door brings a smile to my face as I bask in their excitement and crazy costumes. There isn't a single sassy or grumpy soul to be found.

The aftermath - kids on a sugar high for months - was never my favorite. I decided to give my kids a 30 minute window every evening after supper to eat as much candy as they wanted until they finished every last piece.  Done and done.  The magic of this holiday for me is simply the creativity and joy I find ever time I answer that ringing doorbell. The trick or treaters high spirits lift me up for days after.  I honestly can't wait for next year.