My neighborhood is full of senior citizens, many wealthy, retired folks who enjoy living in the shadow of Job’s Peak and Heavenly Valley in Douglas County. We love our neighborhood too, in fact, we chose it specifically for its big, wide streets with sidewalks and school busses when our son was seven years old.
In the beginning, it was great – lots of families with kids for our boy to play with and Halloween was the best. Families from all over the Carson Valley would flock to our neighborhood to trick or treat. We had superheroes and princesses, witches and monsters by the hundreds, and one memorable year, a basset hound dressed as a duck, come to our door looking for treats. I was in heaven.
My son and his friends trick or treated well into their teens, my son dressed as Gumby his junior year of high school. But over the years, more and more lights would go off in the ‘hood, and fewer and fewer homes would participate. Fewer and fewer children rang our doorbell, until last year, 12 years after we moved in, we had less than 30 children come to our door.
I, for one, love the tradition of trick or treating. I love seeing teen-agers dressed up as Winnie the Pooh, and, I’ll admit, the year my son and his best friend dressed up as French maids. There was my boy, looking exactly as if I myself had donned a blond page boy wig and a black satin mini dress. Only I think he wore it better.
What’s so bad about children experiencing magic? My five year old grandson informed me that he was going to be Leonardo, the charismatic leader of the Teen Age Mutant Ninja Turtles because, well, he’s the leader. My grandson will tie his blue mask carefully over his eyes and become, for one night, the most awesome super dude ever.
And there will be candy. I hope.
I love answering the call of trick or treaters on Halloween. Seeing children transformed into their greatest ideal – and believing, even for just one night, that they have become something greater than themselves, is magical for me as well. I stuff heaping handfuls of candy into pillowcases and plastic pumpkins out of sheer gratitude for the magic these lovely little people have shared with me this night.
It saddens me to see people shutter their windows and turn off their porch lights to discourage these little goblins from enriching their lives. Somehow they’ve lost how fantastic it feels to be entranced by a little girl in a tutu and butterfly wings. How can you not be charmed by a little guy who believes he can reach for infinity and beyond?
Come on people – open your doors and your hearts to these children who come out on Halloween, buoyed by magic and hope! If you don’t want to buy candy, hand out quarters. In my neighborhood, that would cost you around eight bucks. And it would be worth every penny when just one tiny little soul peers at you through a lopsided mask and says with utmost sincerity, “Happy Halloween.”
There’s still magic in the world – and most likely, it will be a child who shows you. All you have to do is open your heart and your front door on October 31.