We've lived here a long, long time. As a matter of fact, when Husband and I moved in, childless, in October 1993 there were four occupied houses out of 89 in our subdivision. Of course, there were also about twenty under construction with dirt and nails everywhere, poured foundations, walls rising up built out of two by fours, and debris. It was like living in post-World War II Dresden. So that first year we thought, Only four people live here. Certainly it's safe not to buy candy. No one will come. Of course, the doorbell rang. The mean neighbors across the street showed up uttering the only words I ever heard them say to us in the fourteen years they lived there, "Trick or treat."
Even though I'm the child of two Holocaust Survivors and you'd think that pitch black nights and scary figures banging on doors with sudden demands would bring back bad memories for my parents, causing them to ban Halloween, it didn't. Not to mention the whole death thing. My parents made every decision based on "What are the Americans doing?" So, if the Americans were dressing their children up as ghouls and sending them out begging, that's what we did. Also, it didn't cost any money. To get a costume I was basically sent into my older sisters' room to find one - which meant every year I was a hippy. Also, we came home with this free food as a result of this bewildering panhandling, a definite bonus in Mom's eyes.
Last night our neighborhood was a ghost town, and I don't mean a fun, Halloween ghost town. So we ditched it for a different neighborhood nearby, becoming Halloween crashers. There we found the motherlode: roving bands of kids, dressed up adults, parties in the driveways, hay-filled wagons set up to take kids from one block to another, decorated houses, even cauldrons boiling over with dry ice "smoke." A firetruck came by with all of its lights on and the firefighters came out and passed out candy.
Bar Mitzvahzilla and his friend, on their last Halloween before high school, found a house that was giving out whole candy bars and couldn't help themselves, they had to go there over and over again until the homeowner sent them away. Inbred chutzpah. Daughter, who has a short fuse for just about anything, had finished earlier, but once she saw that whole candy bar, that was it for her. She walked up to the door of the house in a trance, cupped her hand for the candy - she was so sure she was done she hadn't even brought a bag along - and came running back, clutching the candy bar like gold.
And then it was done and the lights went out one by one, the legend of the whole chocolate bar living on forever.