What a Waste of a Perfectly Spooky Night
Don’t you just hate it when a perfect opportunity arises for the ideal Halloween party … and then a pandemic has to come along and ruin it all?
October 31, 2020 has all the ingredients one needs for a perfect spooky celebration: a Saturday night for the party (best night of the week for fun!), a full moon – and not just a full moon, but a “blue moon” (the second full moon in October), and the night in which we set our clocks back in most of the U.S. to end Daylight Savings Time, thereby gaining an extra hour of sleep to recover from said party.
While some parties will continue anyways, especially amongst college kids and young adults, the rest of us will probably be staying home. But what about the mainstay of Halloween, those cute little trick-or-treaters with their pumpkin baskets? Will they be out this year and, if so, what will their numbers be like, so that we can plan on how many treats to have on hand? Who really knows how many kids will be going door to door this year, aside from the usual roving bands of teenagers with their requisite pillow cases?
I live in a neighborhood full of young children and Halloween is a big celebration every year. A costume parade and competition, a home decorating contest, and a party in the park to kick-off the moment when they’re all let loose to run from house to house collecting candy. As far as I can tell, trick-or-treating isn’t called off, but I have no idea how many kids will actually be ringing the doorbell vs. going to some alternate Covid-approved event. The only cancellations for certain are the haunted house erected in the park and the huge neighborhood party.
My kids, though they’re no longer little, still wanted to see our house decorated for Halloween, so up the decorations went, including the now-ragged 12-foot hanging ghost that’s truly destined soon for the dust heap. I decided to have candy ready, just in case, because I can’t imagine having to turn away any hopeful little faces should they come calling and I were to come up empty. But I decided to have a Plan B in case they don’t come in droves. Or at all.
Plan B is actually rather self-serving. Truthfully, I have it in place every year, though I rarely have that much candy left over. Quite simply, I buy only the candy that my kids and I really like. It’s stuff that my husband likes, too, though he professes quite loudly that it’s just junk food and he won’t have any part of it. Then (of course) he sneaks a bunch of it into his office when no one is looking and believes he’s gotten away with it. Uh, huh. I learned about sneaky people early in life. When I was a kid, my mother used to filch her favorite candies from my Halloween stash until I noticed how all the good stuff was disappearing overnight. That’s when I learned the value of accounting and keeping an accurate inventory. And hiding my favorites from poachers.
Recently, I took a little poll on Facebook to see what people are doing to prepare - or not! - for trick-or-treaters. Some, like me, are stocking up on treats, just in case the munchkins make their rounds after all. Some are checking with neighbors to see what they’re planning to do with their kids. Plans are all over the board: limited trick-or-treating, people passing out packaged candies in individual plastic bags that are set out for kids to pick up for themselves, Halloween-themed trucks that pass out pre-wrapped portions of Halloween goodies, and games that families can play with their kids inside their homes to emulate the fun of the holiday. Truthfully, if I were a kid, I’d be more than a little disappointed, especially with that last option. Nothing can beat the pure joy of running from door to door with your friends and collecting as much free candy as you can possibly carry. Or until they turn their lights off and tell you to go home.
My last year canvasing for candy was in seventh grade when I was twelve. It was so discouraging when more than one neighbor eyed me critically and asked, “Aren’t you a little old to be trick-or-treating?” I didn’t think so, but nonetheless, the following year I felt obliged to hang up my goodie basket and move on to the next stage of life: answering the door and distributing candy to all the cute little kids who hadn’t yet aged out of the system. I can’t help but think how things have changed over the years. No one blinks an eye at young middle-schoolers in Halloween costumes. Hey, sometimes I get college-aged kids, which honestly is seriously pushing it. True, ostensibly they’re asking for donations to some charity or another. Never for UNICEF, though. Who else remembers holding a box while collecting candy, chanting, “Trick or treat for UNICEF!?” Please say you do, or I’m gonna start feeling rather old.
Perhaps in future years, when this pandemic is in the rear view mirror, we’ll see Halloween costumes commemorating this bizarre time. It’ll certainly be a Halloween we won’t forget, especially if for many kids it becomes the Halloween that wasn’t. As for me, I’ll be hanging by the front door of my house that’s decorated for Halloween, including one very decrepit-looking old ghost hanging on by his chains, with a bowl full of safely-wrapped and socially distanced candies. Waiting for the trick-or-treaters. And if I’m left with a bunch of leftover candies afterwards, oh well. At least the kids and I can have fun hiding them from their dad.