For several years when my two kids were young, we’d gather a whole group of their friends on Halloween and take them door to door together. The hubs and I took turn about chaperoning the ghouls and staying home to pass out treats. Afterward, the whole group of kids, along with some of their parents, would hang out at our house to play games, negotiate candy swaps, and enjoy the full rush of the sugar buzz. We and the families in our circle weren’t ones to give allow junk food on the regular, so this was real debauchery for our kids — a day when food rules went out the window.
The absence of children in my household doesn’t mean I’ve grown any less fond of Halloween. I love that we have a day where it’s acceptable to dress in costumes and eat candy. Pumpkin carving is often the one single craft project I do all year. I enjoy strolling around my neighborhood taking in the creativity with which my community decorates. It’s fun to be a little scared in a safe way. Trick-or-treating is my favorite part. In fact, I might have overreacted when I heard a radio spot for an organized downtown activity touted as “a safe alternative to trick-or-treating.” I might have yelled something about propaganda designed to draw families to retail outlets instead of homes.
I still indulge whole heartedly in passing out treats at the front door while oohing and aahing over superheroes and ghosts and knights. We generally had pretty high numbers of kids coming by keeping me entertained until about three or four years ago. The count started tapering off as the children on our block grew up and flew the nest. Then the neighbors around us stopped participating, leaving their houses dark and uninviting. Then the pandemic hit and we really bottomed out.
But I decided to level up this year to try to lure the trick-or-treaters back. Though our family jack-o-lantern game is strong, we haven’t usually done much else in the way of decorating. And this year, we won’t even have carved pumpkins because the squirrels ate them. However, I fashioned a ghost to hang from a tree in our yard, as well as a few big, fake spiders. And then there’s this treasure I found:
I almost decided to do nothing for Halloween this year, with the pandemic and whatnot. My frequent walks around the neighborhood changed my mind. I have enjoyed seeing others’ decorations and jack-o-lanterns so much, I wanted to join in. My husband and son-in-residence were game. The spider is mine. I found a design on the internet and modified it a little; I’m not really that artistic. The 8-bit face is my son’s, and the goofy Jack is my husband’s freehand design.
Currently, these are by our front steps. This evening, I’ll move them out near the sidewalk (we have a deep yard) and put out a small table with Halloween treats and a sign for trick-or-treaters to help themselves. That way, there’s no bunching up on the porch. Ghosts and goblins will have more space to spread out and be safe.
I like Halloween. It’s fun to be scared just a little, and I have a dark sense of humor. Plus, what’s more enjoyable than dressing up in costumes and sharing treats?
Speaking of scary, here’s a short list of real world things that frighten me on a regular basis, not just once a year.
I won’t walk on them if I can avoid it. Laugh at me all you want. I’m always convinced I’ll fall through if I step on one. It happens, folks.
Driving behind cement mixers.
The slow spin feels ominous to me, as if it’s building up to something. Maybe something like suddenly spewing wet cement, entrapping my car, or at least causing me to wreck. My brain contains a full library of images of what exactly could happen to my vehicle in the event of an unscheduled cement truck discharge, which is also a thing that happens.
Driving behind car carriers.
You know those trucks with the automotive shelving units trailing behind? The ones where multiple cars are chained to ramps that point right down at whoever happens to be following them. I hate getting stuck behind those, watching the half dozen or more cars bounce around, wondering how strong those chains are, and trying to formulate startegies to avoid a pile up if some driverless sedans break their bonds and come zooming head-on in my direction. Guess what? It’s happened.
Exploding Biscuit Cans
I don’t know if one has ever injured or killed a person, but every time I open one, my heart rate soars, my breathing becomes rapid and shallow, and I jump almost out of my skin at the noise. This is what I imagine, every time:
In this case, Halloween. This year, I’m saying “Boo” over my work schedule, which keeps me occupied until nine o’clock Halloween night.
When my kids were younger, we took them trick-or-treating every year, whatever the weather. Umbrellas exist for a reason, after all. Then we’d have a party at our house with their friends and the friends’ parents.
Before we even had children, the spouse and I carved jack-o-lanterns. In the years since my kids have outgrown trick-or-treating, I still have loads of fun passing out candy and seeing the trick-or-treaters in their costumes. I guess my husband gets all the fun this year. But I did get my pumpkin carved: