Oct 31 2012
For what it’s worth, today is Halloween. Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays, but it isn’t much of an issue for us these days because of a couple of things. For one thing, we are often out of the country on cruise ships on Halloween — not on purpose; it just works out that way. This time of year, cruises are inexpensive and the children are in school. It’s the perfect time to be on vacation.
The other thing is that we live on a street with sixteen houses. The houses are far apart and hard to walk to. At least, they’re far apart compared to the rows of townhouses across the street. In the time it would take a trick-or-treater to go up and down our street, he could canvass the whole development of townhouses and rake in a ton of loot. If I were a trick-or-treater and had to weigh a maximum of 16 pieces of candy versus a bagful of treats, I know what I’d choose.
We used to have tons of Halloween decorations, but as I got too rickety to be able to put them out, I eventually gave them away. Gone are the lighted ceramic ghosts and jack-o-lanterns I made in Relief Society homemaking meetings. The other Halloween decorations have been dispersed to younger friends, too. We won’t even carve a pumpkin. After all, it’s just the two of us, and we may not have any trick-or-treaters at all.
Even so, I want to be home on Halloween, just in case. If any costumed children make their way all the way to our house at the end of the street, I don’t want them to knock on our door in vain.
It’s not as though they need the candy — I know that. And it’s not as though we have any wonderful treats to give. We used to give doughnuts when we lived in Salt Lake City, but that was in a neighborhood where there were no strangers and everybody knew our name. Now, on a street of strangers who are for the most part childless, it isn’t the same.
It’s just that I want to be part of the excitement of Halloween. I want to know that all around me, little children are being turned into witches or X-Men or pumpkins or zombies and leaving their homes with a bag or a plastic pumpkin to fill with treasures that are given to them by strangers on a dark (and this year, rainy) autumn night.
Through them, I remember the sounds of swirling leaves and the scent of autumn in the air. Sometimes there were bonfires; other times there was the smell of a candle sputtering its life away in a freshly-carved pumpkin. There were occasional frights, as costumed parents answered the door to disperse pieces of chocolate. And you never knew if the bigger kids were going to jump out from behind a bush and yell, “Boo!”
Tomorrow is the beginning of November. Thanksgiving is on our heels, and Christmas comes shortly after that. This is the best time of the year for so many reasons, but today I celebrate the last day of October. We are in a place described by Ray Bradbury as
that country where it is always turning late in the year, that country whose people are always autumn people, thinking autumn thoughts.”
For October people such as I, this is the very best time of the year.