A few years back, I wrote something about Halloween that was republished here and there on the Intertunnel. In the fifteen years or so we lived at our last home, we never had one trick-or-treater show up. But things are different here in western Maine. We left The Heir home with a big bowl of Hershey bars, and went out into the receding snow under the bracing starlight after dinner with The Spare. And it was — exactly, precisely, to the last jot and tittle — what I described as the way Halloween should be:
At around dusk, small children dressed in cute and fantastic costumes will visit the doors of their nearby neighbors, who will give them a little Snickers bar for their trouble. Any child old enough to be unaccompanied by an adult is too old to trick-or-treat. The children’s parents will stand slightly behind their children and wave to the neighbors and they will exchange pleasantries. The home will have a pumpkin or two on the step, and perhaps the silhouette of a witch on a broom and a black cat, cut from construction paper by a gradeschooler, in the window. These small children will not be frightened by this activity, and startling people for your amusement will get you only a rap on the head from a Maglite flashlight that you will commemorate for several weeks by rubbing the lump it leaves on your addled head. The small children will be home and asleep at the regular hour, more or less.
It was marvelous. There were a few homes on our little route around our neighborhood where the denizens were out, but they left bowls of candy on their front step to be neighborly.
Now I’ve got to go turn my fleece-lined workshirt rightside-out and go down to the tablesaw.