Last night we had 42 trick-or-treaters, which is also the ultimate answer. We had enough candy for 142. I was handing it out by the fistfuls and still we had leftover candy.
I wish we'd had more. When I lived in Lakewood, Colorado, we had hordes of kids and would run out of candy every year, having to turn all the lights out by 8:00pm or so. That was fun. Some of the neighbors in that area didn't like the fact that "those kids" from the poor apartments four or five blocks away came through the neighborhood, sometimes without even costumes (because they're poor! duh). I always marveled at just how scrooge-like people can be about such things, begrudging handing out candy to poor children. Grrr...
Me? I love Halloween. I don't dress up. I hardly put anything up except a few lighted decorations to help denote our house as being one open for trick-or-treaters. But for some reason I love handing out candy to trick-or-treaters. Young or old. From the neighborhood or not. Rich or poor. I don't care. I just like answering the doorbell, hearing "Trick or treat!," commenting on the costumes and handing out candy. That's it. That's all there is, and I love it. It always makes my day.
I especially like the little kids who are old enough to walk up to the door on their own but still so young they don't know what to say or are in that too-shy phase to say it. Last night's winner was a little girl of about three (I'm guessing), whiskers painted on her cheeks, serious face, big eyes. I opened the door and she just looked up at me with those big eyes. Silence. "Are you a kitty?" Serious nod, big eyes. "I like kitties! Here's some candy!" Serious nod, big eyes. "Bye bye! Happy Halloween! Have fun! (wiggle-fingers-wave)" Walks away, looking back, serious face, big eyes.
That made my whole night. :)
And here's the thing - I am not a big fan of kids. I wasn't really that good with little kids when I was a little kid. I've long joked I barely liked my own when they were little (I loved them, of course, but I like them more and more as they get older). My idea of hell would be a never-ending birthday party for a four-year-old and all their friends. I am usually fairly curmudgeonly about it all.
Yet still I love Halloween. It lets me be a good guy for a night, just some anonymous dude giving out candy by the handful. I like to see the costumes. I love to hear the shouts of "Trick or treat!" and "Thank you!" I don't even want to shake my fist and yell, "Get offa my lawn!" It's a night where I get "just enough" of little kids, and we both get to be in our best forms - them all cute in their costumes and excited about the free candy, me in a good mood just seeing the parade of happy faces, shoveling out candy, hoping for more to show up, sad when it's over. Weird, eh?
To mix holidays together a bit, it's like that moment at the end of "Grinch" where he's happily tossing gifts off the back of the sleigh. It's the thing that makes my heart grow three sizes, if only for a day.
Anyway, here's to hoping for more next year. Maybe we'll get 142! Maybe we'll have to turn off the lights and go hide in the back of the house at 7:30 after running out of candy. That would be heaven.
If only for a night.