Everyone hail to the pumpkin song
I love Halloween. There's something magical about it, even at this in-between stage of life where I'm too old to go trick-or-treating and don't yet have kids of my own to take out. I look forward to living in a regular neighborhood where trick-or-treaters will come to the door. We've been apartment dwellers since 1999, and the three trick-or-treaters we got tonight are the only ones we've ever had at any of our apartments. Every year I buy a little bag of treats and wait hopefully, but (until this year) no one comes. It makes me kind of sad, really.
I don't carve a pumpkin anymore, because I'm afraid to leave it outside (smashed pumpkins make me incredibly sad, even when they're not mine) and every time I consider carving one and keeping it inside, I remember that Ramona book where Picky-Picky ate half of their jack-o-lantern. Kitters would so totally do that. I didn't put up decorations this year, either, since this month has been busy and really no one would be around to see them except for us.
I can still remember the excitement of getting into my costume and heading out with my jack-o-lantern-shaped bucket. I can still remember the unique smell that all the Halloween candy made when it was mixed together in the bottom of the bucket. It's the one night in the year that it's okay for kids to knock on stranger's doors (with parents waiting on the sidewalk, of course), when kids can dress up as fantastical characters, and in that I think there is a chance to connect to the past. From the pagan traditions to the medieval ones to the very American ones, Halloween is a one-of-a-kind night. In an increasingly shut-off world, on Halloween we throw open our doors and turn on our lights and don't get mad if other people's kids walk on our front lawns.
I met up with Danger and Evilducky for chai earlier, and as I was driving home around 7:30, I drove past neighborhoods with porch lights blazing, a house with its tiny lawn packed with giant Halloween-themed inflatables, children in costume with parents waiting on the sidewalk. I saw people sitting in front of their TVs with the front doors propped open. I saw two little girls dressed as witches sitting at a dining room table with their haul spread before them. I saw several small groups of older kids, middle-schoolers maybe, gamboling along with candy bags swinging.
I'm still a little sad that I'm mostly a Halloween observer these days, but I'm wistfully and happily looking forward to a time when I can share the joy of one of our last remaining magical nights again. Happy Halloween, everyone!
Reading: M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman
Playing: Prolonging the Magic by Cake (sound warning) (and the magic theme is a coincidence, I swear)