Halloween is not my favorite holiday. I do not enjoy scary movies or things that go “bump” in the night. I never truly enjoyed dressing up in costume as a child. Even the abundance of sugar filled treats still doesn’t entice me. I’m uncomfortable with the hoards of children dressed in ever increasingly uncreative (and increasingly “slutty”) costumes each year coming to my home begging for candy from me, a stranger. Yes, their parents are typically with them, but it still seems….. odd and suspicious. On any other day of the year if you had a stranger come to your door with a mask on demanding candy or food you’d call the cops and reach for the nearest weapon. Or maybe direct them to the nearest shelter. Except on Halloween. Everyone seems to just be more trusting of this odd behavior and I just don’t get it.
My husband, however, loves this holiday. As a child he did not trick-or-treat and rarely got into costume. He and his parents did give out candy and, to this day, he is “traumatized” by the fact that he didn’t get to participate in confectionery induced comas whilst being dressed as a Transformer. But as often as he’s complained about this obvious “trauma” of his childhood he still won’t go with me to any party that we would need to dress up in costume or even go to work in costume during their costume contests. He’d much rather sit on the porch and hand out candy to the hoards of others…. in a sense reliving the devastation of his childhood.
I am not the candy giver. I am, what some would say, the “grouchy old lady shivering beneath an ocean of clothes and blankets”. I do, however, sit on the porch with him. Not because I also enjoy the aspect of children clamoring onto my porch, spilling their treats all over or having them trip on their ridiculously long costumes and banging their head on my sidewalk, but instead… to watch my husband. As each child makes their way to him with a “Happy Halloween!” or a “Trick-or-Treat!” his eyes light up as he can bestow upon them their ultimate reward: a piece of chocolate or sticky taffy bar. As they thank him and quickly scurry to the next house he is often smiling broadly or even laughing at their antics. Many, dressed as knights, ninjas or Jedis, often come close to poking out his eye with their swords and light sabers. Some try to sneak more than their fair share of the goods. He takes in all in stride. Others, like our neighbors granddaughter, wouldn’t even come near him this year. Something that truly, I think, hurt his ego. He had candy after all. What child turns away candy even from a perfect stranger! The nerve!
By the end of the night, infected by my husband’s gaiety and brilliant smile, I am usually just as enamored with the children, their tiny voices and broad smiles piercing even my cold, grouchy heart. I can see why he loves it so much. Rosy cheeked bunnies and glittering angels alongside strong military men and muscular super heroes all crowd onto our porch. My mood has been enlightened and I smile along with him, welcoming each child to our porch as the candy in our basket begins to dwindle. As the last piece is given out, we stand up with a sigh to return inside for another year.