Halloween, 2011

You’d have to live on a desert island not to know that today is Halloween. The stores have been full of the theme since July 4th. The holiday is synonymous with children, and I sit in what I call “old fart’s-ville” where we don’t turn on house lights except to see the drive-way as we come and go. Or to tell the burglars we’re home – don’t come knockin’. The door bell won’t ring with tiny Trick or Treaters tonight. The last time I gave out candy was five years ago.
            My jack-o-lantern is plugged in. My screeching witch sits on the counter with two bobble-heads and a plastic pail of candy. I’ve been nibbling on chocolate for weeks. Both my face and waist-line show the results. Everything ‘looks’ like Halloween, except for one large missing piece – the costumed children!
I love kids. I was a mom who sewed costumes every single year, carved pumpkins, decorated, baked goodies as well as the pumpkin seeds, and gave out bag after bag of treats. I was a teacher, counselor, administrator. Just last week I worked with fourth graders and high school students as a volunteer. I miss kids.
            My last neighborhood was full of young families. The procession of door-bell ringers went on for hours. One year my son and his best friend decorated the front yard in horrible, creepy, decorations with loud scary music including a stuffed man hung from our front tree. Halloween is still my daughter’s favorite holiday. It’s a toss-up between Christmas and goblins, but her costume usually wins out. She decorates, celebrates and parties every year.
            I loved the little bitties who came out early – before dark. Tiny ghosts and goblins, some in strollers in adorable soft, fuzzy and cute costumes. The scary ones came later, more serious about the tricks if the treats were gone or your light turned off. But even those were fun. Creativity and imagination went into them, and I begged for no tricks as I filled their bags. Even the 5’6” kids who simply threw on some face make-up and baggy over-alls or freckles and pig -tails were welcome. I’d no sooner sit down than the bell would ring again. Up and down for hours. They came out of nowhere. The side-walk would be empty one minute, and the front porch, full the next.
Back in the old days, people had milk bottles to steal from the porch or clothes pins that hung on porch mail boxes – as if that were a huge loss! Boys might egg cars or t.p. a front yard. No silly string back then. A full moon every year was impossible, but that’s how I remember it. Costumes were home-made and often thrown together that afternoon. No realistic plastic character-masks or body-suits. Vandalism wasn’t possible. First of all, everyone knew you and your parents and secondly, no one even locked their doors back then. Goodies were seldom bought; they included home-made cookies, apples, popcorn balls, a small amount of candy from lazy or busy neighbors. We used paper sacks to carry our stash – folded over once, sometimes decorated, usually not. Or a simple white pillow case off our bed. Every child was on the streets. No party at church or school or neighborhood club house was needed for safety. We didn’t know you could x-ray food back then. Some-times I long for those old days.
 But today, I even long for those good old days of five years ago. I may have to drive across the road and park at the end of a cul-de-sac to watch the families walk the streets. Please don’t call the cops if you see me, ok?

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