It’s dark. It’s chaotic. You are surrounded by Sugar-Crazed Maniacs and glossy solo cups. Every few feet, a familiar face appears and the small talk must be UNBEARABLE to said Sugar-Crazed Maniacs because, after all, there are countless lit-up houses waiting to unload their sugar stash to eager, small hands and sweet-toothed parents, eyeing the good stuff. Young eyes grow big at the mounting pile of lollipops, licorice and peanut butter cups and, feeling overwhelmed by darkened chaos, you look at the time and realize it’s only been a paltry 45 minutes since the first “trick or treat” left the lips of the Children. The urge to encourage your little ones to start making their way home is overwhelming; after all-they have more candy than they will ever possibly consume and also-that glossy solo cup is feeling light. And it’s not just home and then to bed. No, no, no. There will be the ritual dumping of candy and trading and fighting over who gets what followed by the desire of The Children to sit on the porch and pass out treats to Oddly Older Teenagers still out and about because it’s almost as much fun to pass out the candy as it is to collect the candy and the prospect of a quiet house after a big night feels hours and hours and hours away….
But somewhere along the path of darkened chaos, it is The Children who are bumping into familiar faces. Friends and neighbors alike, they run off in packs, promising to stay together, to be right back. And they do. And they are. A glossy solo cup is suddenly feeling a bit heavier, thanks to a friendly neighbor with a bottle to share and a wall to lean against. As your eyes dart back and forth, trusting-but verifying-The Children’s presence, the time doesn’t seem to matter so much anymore for the magic of Childhood is wildly in play right before your very eyes. Will it be this Halloween they remember so poignantly as they grow older? Maybe it will be this moment, this very one, that they look back on and smile about in some 20, 30, 50 years. It certainly isn’t going to be the candy they remember the most fondly. It will be this. It will be a dark night with friends swirling all around them, feeling free and happy. It will be the rebellious fun of staying up way too late as your parents tell you, Sure. We can stay out later. Grab a friend. Let’s walk together. After all….look at all these lit up houses just waiting for you and your small, eager hands. We’ve still got a few trick or treats left in us.
Hope they’re giving out the good stuff.