Let the gluttony begin.
This is my kids’ favorite time of year. Well, next to Christmas. And Easter. Halloween ranks lower than those others because they have to work for their treats, hoofing it here and there and ringing door bells and risk being scared half to death. I get the joy of accompanying them through darkness and, last year, the remnants of a freakishly early snowfall.
When they were really little, we lived in a cul-de-sac neighborhood in the (warm) south, where everyone celebrated Halloween and all trick-or-treated during the same two-hour window. The street pretty much shut down to allow unfettered passage of costumed kids weaving their way from house to house. My kids were in awe.
A few years ago, when we moved to our new state, and our more rural town, our first Halloween was far different. My husband was in bed with the swine flu (he’ll never let me forget, as I insisted he was being a baby and it was merely a cold—a mild one at that), so just the kids and I ventured out into our sparse neighborhood. With no sidewalks or street lights, we traipsed carefully along the edge of the very dark country lane, empty candy bags and flashlight in hand. No laughter or squeals from fellow trick or treaters filled the night—just the occasional howls from a wolf sanctuary a mile away.
Our first stop—our next door neighbors’ house—gave us the hint that the hunt for candy might not go well. The husband was unaware it was Halloween and apologized. Strike one. We would walk another ten minutes and ring four more door bells before the kids finally netted some sweets. By the end of the evening, we’d walked about two miles, round-trip, in the pitch black, trying about a dozen and a half homes, and had success with five. With their dad’s and my unseen help, their stash of sugary loot was gone within three days.
The next year, a few more neighbors were ready for them; about eight houses came through.
For the past two years, we’ve gone to a friend’s neighborhood–one similar to our old one in Birmingham, complete with decorated houses and sidewalks and lots of trick-or-treaters racing about. There’s candy at every house. Nirvana for my kids. Till we hit that one house where a teen-aged, pig-masked hellion waving a chainsaw over his head chased after my daughter, ignoring her screams of terror. She dropped most of her candy, cried, and called it a night right then and there. I became Momma Bear and had several words with the punk (who quite frankly scared me just a bit too).
This year we’ll stay away from pig boy’s yard. Heck, due to Hurricane Sandy—what some have now dubbed Frankenstorm—we might just stay away from all yards, preferring to remain toasty warm (if the power remains on) and dry inside my friend’s house, eating undispersed candy and some hot chili. She even said she’ll have wine for the grown-ups. That’s a treat this mom can embrace.
And I don’t even need a costume.