Oh, we had kids come to our house all dressed in their costumes asking for candy and Mom once threw a pretty great Halloween party complete with treat bags, bobbing for apples and an amazingly scare maze all set up in the garage. To this day, several of my friends still say that that is one of their most vivid memories of their childhoods. (Sadly, that year I was supposed to be a ballerina - the secret dream of little fat girls everywhere - but my mom was so busy with preparations for the party that I attended wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Hmm...some pink tulle and tights. Doesn't seem that difficult. I'm still discussing that one in therapy. Again, I digress.)
My parents live in the suburbs - the home of front porches that consist of a huge garage door - so they didn't really do much decorating for the holiday and the trick-or-treating time consisted of opening the door whenever kids rang the bell. I had no idea that it could be any different.
That was until I moved into my house. I moved in at the end of September and that first Halloween I made the mistake of going away for the evening. I didn't even have a pumpkin out as decoration. I did remember to turn off my light so at least the ire of my neighbors wasn't taken out on my house. The next day I received a "talking to" from the family next door. Apparently in my neighborhood, Halloween can be a big deal. Up and down the street most everyone sits out on the front porch to greet the ghouls and goblins. Many people even have little fires in chimneas. It is very cozy and a great way to really become a part of the neighborhood. It has really become one of my favorite holidays for this very reason.
This year I decided to really get in the spirit. For a very long time I was a real humbug about decorating because I am the only one to put it all up. Then I am the only one to take it all down. And for a while, as far as Christmas decorations went, I was the only one to see them. I thought that was a lot of work to do and I didn't really see the reward in it. This year (aided by Wellbutrin) I decorated with a huge straw bale (courtesy of Troy's family's farm. Thanks to them!), several little gourds, Halloween votive holders and (for the second time ever, I believe) I carved two pumpkins. I think they turned out pretty well for being an amateur.
This year I also made a rule that I wasn't going to give out candy to "kids" I thought had probably driven themselves there and could possibly hold down a job. I know. I'm a fuddy-duddy. What can I say? But we have the problem A LOT in my neighborhood. However, I changed my tune when these three young men showed up in their spotless suits, ties and gangsta' hats. They offered me "protection" in return for some candy. The tallest one then opened a briefcase for me to deposit the candy into. It was hilarious! It also turns out that they are 8TH GRADERS from a local catholic school. One of them was 6'3"!! What are they feeding those kids?!?!?