Ok, so it’s the day after Halloween. Dio de los muertos, I believe. It will definitely be the day of my death if I continue eating from the bucket of candy left over from Trick or Treat. I’m new to the neighborhood this year so I had no idea how many munchkins would hit my door. But I did up the front porch with electric jack-o-lanterns, strings of tiny candy corn shaped lights, and our family witch. Witchy has been with us for many years. I asked recently but my kids can’t remember not having her. I don’t really think she’s more than oh, say 12-15 years. But she’s no worse for wear and still has this haunting – totally obnoxious – music that plays as she gyrates and her green eyes flash and the skull she is holding lights up. A year ago I moved from an age restricted neighborhood without kids. This year I was going to make the most of it!
I waited impatiently on the front porch around 5:30; glancing in each direction until one of my neighbors waved a hello with a look of concern. At 5:45 I went back inside and made myself a hamburger patty and some rice, figuring I’d be called to the door any minute so keep it simple. Nothing. 5:50. Nothing. It was now quite dark, well past sunset. We are the last block; perhaps no kids this year after all. I went inside and turned on TV with one ear tuned to the doorbell.
And then it began – the stream of little bodies weaving in and out across the street and down the sidewalks. The first was a little Princess Leia. I nearly cried. I had made my daughter’s Princess Leia costume thirty -five years ago. How did she even know about Star Wars, I wondered. Someone in the family must be a fan – probably Dad. I pretended not to know it was Halloween already and said I’d have to check to see if I had any candy in the house. She and her friends looked at me like I was nuts – adults are all nuts! And I reached inside the front door and offered the bucket of candy.
I don’t love Halloween per se. But I love kids. And thankfully my new neighborhood has plenty. They came from blocks away; parents smiling and encouraging – “ring the bell” – from the sidewalk. Captain Hook, zombies, Snow White, Sponge Bob – they all came.
At 8:00 the streets were empty and silent, and I walked to the mailbox at the corner and praised the guy on the end who had spent a month creating a movie set of his house. As I walked back home along the darkened sidewalks, I picked up candy that had spilled from over-full containers. And I smiled.
The last little girl wanted to take Witchy home, and I was pleased when her mother said, “oh, no, she’ll be here next year.” Yes, she will. I will be here next year and the porch decorations will grow. Which reminds me, I need to hit the stores for the after Halloween sales today. And I have to hide the candy before I begin planning the feast for Thanksgiving.