Small Talk

Here’s hoping we have a Halloween this year without smoke in the sky. It is truly one of my favorite evenings of the year, when all the little cuties who know me from the school library will don costumes and come to my door.
I require a host of little cats, pumpkins, Jedi knights, witches and fairy princesses to make my year complete. Nothing is more adorable. It’s even sweeter (pun intended) this year because some area schools have boarded the healthy train and will no longer permit me to shamelessly bribe the student body with candy during school. Hence, I’ve saved it all for Oct. 31.
I still have to work very hard not to resent the well-meaning but really annoying shopping areas that organize and advertise “safe” Halloween activities and trick-or-treating from shop to shop. I understand their motives, but my house is very safe and so are my neighbors,’ darn it. But every time one of these events is held, fewer of my small friends make it to my door. It makes me pout.
For a couple of years, I decked myself in some sort of costume to answer the door. I had to stop when I realized half the kids didn’t recognize me and the other half were mildly terrified.
I feel very fortunate that when my babes were of trick-or-treating age, our neighborhood was bursting with children their age and it was a marvelous neighborhood event.
Each street seemed to have a house that really went all out with decorations or a haunted house, and the very best one was (and still is) right across the street from me, where they give out big candy bars, hot cider and rum punch for the adults. Several neighbors join together, dress up, decorate an entire garage and create a real neighborhood gathering spot.
We even had a dentist who gave out toothbrushes each year to trick-or-treaters of all ages.
And speaking of trick-or-treating age, I remain a big supporter of trick-or-treating right through junior high and even high school.
I love to see those semi-big kids who used to visit my library and I love to treat them to a little candy. Where is the harm, I ask you?
I think it lets them feel that someone still loves them, even though they are now tall and goofy. Surely, a knock on the door at 8:30 p.m. beats big, possibly out-of-control parties or houses covered with toilet paper. And, jumping on my favorite soap box … we need to let our children be children for as long as they can. The demanding world of adulthood will be upon them soon enough.
So bring on the spooks. I need my therapy of small, and not-so-small, smeared faces grinning ear to ear.

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer with an open door and a big candy bowl. Contact her at jgillette@coastnewsgroup.com.

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