In the last few days my social and news feeds have been flooded with various Halloween tips, ideas and recollections of Halloweens past. The one that truly caught my eye was the one which went viral published by Slate in their Dear Prudence section. The post addressed kids from poorer neighborhoods trick-or-treating in wealthier areas and whether or not the questioner had to give them candy.
WOW! -- I hope this was a manufactured question and doesn't truly represent the point of view of a real person.
It also reminded me of one of the best Halloweens I can ever remember, not one in which I went trick-or-treating with my friends or had an awesome costume, but one where my wife made Halloween special for one less-fortunate little girl.
While my wife and I are, as I've written about previously, childless by choice, one of my wife's favorite holidays has always been Halloween -- having all the children come to our house trick or treating in their costumes. She has one very strict rule, you MUST say in a clearly audible voice, "Trick or Treat." Standing mute in fear on our doorstep is not an option.
Currently we live in a section of a large planned community, where due to the home styles, most of the residents are over 50 years old. So, if we receive three trick-or-treaters a year, it is a large number. That was not always the case.
Back in the mid '90s we lived in a heavily family-centric neighborhood where every home (except ours) contained 2.3 children and a minivan. The neighborhood was not large, but it was active. On Halloween there was an annual parade through the neighborhood led by a firetruck from our local station. The kids walked behind, festooned in their elaborate costumes.
One year we invited some friends with three little boys over to enjoy the festivities and the convenience of trick-or-treating in a more densely populated neighborhood with sidewalks and street lights versus the more isolated setting of homes in their neighborhood.
When we opened the door, there were their boys all dressed up and ready to go, but standing slightly behind them was a little girl, probably about eight or nine. We had never met her before. Our friends introduced her and explained that they were friends of her mother who was a single parent living in less-than-desirable conditions and they were babysitting while her mother worked.
At first sight your heart went out to this little girl. Her eyes were downcast. Her "costume" an almost threadbare, inexpensive dress, with a torn ruffled trim at the hem. Her hair was lank and unbrushed -- but the saddest part were her oversized glasses with scratched lenses.
In one fell swoop, my wife went in to action in one of the most maternalistic moments I have ever witnessed in over 30 years of marriage. There was no way my wife was going to let this young girl go out for Halloween improperly dressed. She headed in to her closets and pulled out scarves, beaded necklaces and bracelets. She swooped up the girl's hair and pinned it in place with glittery barrettes and pins, and put the littlest bit of makeup on her face. She made do with what we had around the house and then pronounced to this little girl "If anyone asks, you're a gypsy". The little girl's face beamed and she went running out of the house to joyously join the Halloween parade and trick-or-treating.
We still think of this little girl periodically and wonder if she remembers the lady that dressed her up as a "Gypsy" because we certainly remember her.
Or visit my personal blog - Smoking on The Lidodeck