When I was a child, and when my children were in elementary school, Halloween was a neighborhood holiday. Kids (even with parents in tow) generally visited only those houses within walking distance, except for the last stop or two of the night to the homes of grandparents and other relatives.
In those times, I looked forward to greeting the neighborhood children. A few years later, around the turn of the century, there was a new phenomenon of people driving from other parts of town (or other towns) to drop off kids in our neighborhood for trick-or-treat. In those years, it was not unheard-of to see 200-300 children per night.
Since that time, other neighborhoods have taken over as the “drive-to” destinations. That’s fine with me — I really like Halloween as a neighborhood holiday, so that I can see how cute they are from year to year. I really don’t care about seeing kids whose parents brought them in from a neighboring town or county, simply in search of loot.
Neighborhoods tend to age; when my children were young, almost every house on our street had young children. Now that mine are mostly in college (one almost there, one with a freshly-minted Master’s degree, two in between), I guess the neighbors’ children have similarly aged. Before too long, the neighborhood will begin turning over again, and young children will return.
I’ll be the old lady that gives out the good stuff, for those brave enough to venture to my door. There will be scary things to get past along the way… after all, two graves were moved to build this house, and I have it on good authority that there were more than two buried here. It’s haunted, kiddos, but we don’t give out the cheap stuff. It’s all chocolate. It’s the kind of candy your parents want to ration over months. Or steal.
I’m just a big kid myself, and I absolutely love Halloween.
If you don’t come get it, I’ll have to eat it, and I don’t want cheap candy any more than you do. Or, thanks to Facebook, I now have the addresses of the children who used to visit, but are now in out-of-state colleges and craving chocolate. Yeah, they’ll get a care package to carry them through finals.
Three kids came to my door tonight. I look forward to the day when the little ones return.