My early Halloweens were in Oklahoma City. That meant that about half of the time, we had to wear coats over our costumes because it was so cold. But those Halloweens took place so long ago that one of the best places to go was down the street from our house because the woman who lived there made popcorn balls. Such sticky yummy goodness. And so completely unthinkable today.
The strangest thing I got in my trick or treat bag happened when I was about six or seven. My dad was in the street and we walked up to house with a dark porch. I don’t know why. Was there something else about the house that made us think we could ring their bell? If there was, I don’t remember it. What I do clearly remember is that the person inside the house jumped out with a yell and threw something heavy into our bags. It felt like it might have been an apple. When we got home and checked it out, I was sorely disappointed. It was a dried out biscuit. I never did know what that was all about.
Now of course, outdoor decorations are all the thing and no one would ever ring a doorbell if the porch light wasn’t on. Our next-door neighbor decorates seriously for Christmas, but she goes all out for Halloween. Her decorations go up the last weekend in September. According to her husband, it’s even crazier inside and the worst part, according to him, is “that creepy doll.” Apparently, she has an Annabelle doll. Without even seeing it, I have to agree with him. Then there’s the neighbor a couple of streets over that has a petting zoo’s worth of animal skeletons and this year a full rock band complete with microphones, guitars and long haired wigs. It’s a hoot. We’re at the other end of the spectrum. We put up a few things to signify that we have candy but that’s about it. Of course, for some kids, it doesn’t take much. This was enough to earn us an awed “COOOL” from a very small ghoul one year.
I’m writing this on Tuesday evening and we have quite a few kids in this neighborhood so it should be a busy night. In fact, it’s the busiest place we’ve lived and our first doorbell ring was at 5 o’clock. The neighbor down the street is playing Thriller. During COVID, we had pleasant weathe,r and it was fun sitting outside at the end of the driveway watching people wander up and down the street and chatting with neighbors as they strolled by with their kids. Tonight, even though I’m in San Marcos, not Oklahoma, it’s too cold for me to sit outside so it’s back to the tradition of handing out candy at the door.
Halloween is scarier now than when I was a youngster and so there are many substitutes for walking through the neighborhood. Fairs and trunk or treat and ways to create a safe way to troll of candy. And in that way, our neighborhood in a small town is a bit of a throwback. It’s a form of being neighborly and acknowledging we may not know each other, but we live in a community, we are neighbors, and we can come together to share an evening making memories for kids. And that, for me, is a good Halloween story.
I hope you have fun memories and whether you go all out or not, I hope you enjoyed this Halloween.
PS, We ended up standing in the driveway handing out candy and chatting though I did need a coat. We met a dinosaur, Darth Vader, Jasmine, and any number of fuzzy creatures. But my favorite was a little boy who had on a tutu and a duck hat. He was a ballerina duck. From him I learned that ballerinas squat and say “Quack!” Happy Halloween.