This year we walked our neighborhood - our new neighborhood. No driving a few blocks to trick/treat with friends, although I must say we did miss them. Dad stayed home, promising to open the door and hand out candy, NOT hide away inside watching scary movies while the hordes emptied the basket in one fell swoop.
The girls and I started out at about 6:30 - me, my daughter and her bestest friend - when it was not quite dark and there wasn't yet a chill in the air. Beauty and the beast, as it were. One a beautiful pirate wench, the other a gloriously dead cheerleader. We hit 7 or 8 blocks in all, spending a good hour and a half going house-to-house. Quite frankly, two 10-year old girls in boots and tights tend to want to go only so far on a chilly evening, and their bags were plenty full. Not like the old days when my brothers and I would walk for blocks in all directions, and come home with a full pillow case. Gad, how did my parents cope with that mass of sugar in the house?
Amidst the healthy crowds of kids, many of whom we knew, here are a few of the things that caught my eye:
1. A father and son trick or treating together.They both had treat bags, but only the little boy was in costume. I thought this was a bit odd, but my husband offered the perspective that perhaps they'd never before experienced Halloween and were both excited about it. Okay.
2. A roving pack of 6th or perhaps 7th grade girls with not a well-mannered bone among them. They pushed in front of my girls without hesitation to get to the door. After the second time this happened, I was compelled to point out quite calmly that they should perhaps let the smaller ones go first. They ignored me completely. Really? Nice job, parents. Really nice job. I'll be keeping an eye out for them next year.
3. A couple of really scary clown faces. Nuff said.
4. A big kid dressed in a dark brown sack of some sort and a dark rubber mask pulled over his head. When a diminutive, curious mom asked what he was, he responded "Harry Potter." Not by a long shot, buddy. Seriously? If you're going to go out and beg for candy, at least dress up. And, if you're over the age of 13 or 14, DON'T go!
5. There were three haunted houses, in varying degrees of terror. We walked three blocks to the big one to start the evening - a haunted recreation of the Burbank City Hall and AMC theater. The line was half way down the block, and it wasn't open yet. We moved on. Quite honestly, I don't think the girls wanted to go into any of them.
6. A woman, walking down the street, swinging her little flashlight back and forth across the sidewalk and onto front lawns. Not slowing, not stopping to look for anything in particular, just, well, I don't know...
7. Then there were the vans pulling up on Chandler and infusing the neighborhood with still more kids. This I understand, and yay that they come and have a great Halloween experience. And I also struggle with the need to buy enough candy to hand out to hundreds of kids who don't live in the neighborhood. Honey, I just don't have this kind of cash, and I'm still old-fashioned enough to want to know the kids who come to my door.
All in all, it was a lovely Halloween. It was nice to be out walking in the neighborhood, which was busier than I'd expected but far less so than I'd prefer. The constant flow of kids through the streets, which I remember from my own childhood, was missing. It was a bittersweet experience - the juxtaposition of young costumed children giddy with delight, and the older kids either not dressed at all or dressed more appropriately for an adult party. The rows of houses on each block gone dark for the evening, many of them hiding in the back of the house and avoiding the holiday altogether.
Perhaps what stood out most for me this year were the people that not only lit up their homes and opened their doors for the event, but were also part of it. They sat outside. They enjoyed the evening. I think that next year we shall perhaps do the same. Bundle up outside, with friends, drinks in hand, and toast All Hallow's Eve out loud with the passing streams of monsters, princesses, furry animals, and heroes, scary movies on the big TV, ghouls adorning the yard. Ooh, and maybe make some smores for the occasion. :)