No More Halloweens? by Sharon O’Donnell

 When my 3 sons were small and I’d take them trick or treating, I always knew which houses didn’t participate in the annual candy-giving. Over the years, I knew the homes that were dark, with no porch light and often no inside lights — and usually no decorations.  I always vowed I would never be one of ‘those’ houses.  However, now that my oldest two sons are in college and grad school, and my youngest is 14, I find myself falling prey to the allure of closing up shop, so to speak, and not turning on the porch lights.  After all, there aren’t many young children in our rather stable neighborhood with parents all about my age.  Still, there are some. And I don’t want to be one of ‘those’ houses to them. 

So my youngest son and I got out the decorations from the attic, albeit on the day of Halloween as I just wasn’t inspired to do it sooner.  I went out and bought the candy.  And we turned on the porch light.  We weren’t one of ‘those’ houses.  Not yet anyway. 

I have to admit, I started finding it depressing out trick-or-treating when my youngest son used to go because there were so many fewer children out than there was when my two oldest sons went.  Our neighborhood was changing. Since I am an ‘older’ mom, I really feel that change because I used go out with my boys when the streets were filled with little goblins, ghosts, princesses, and superheroes.  Back then, tons of Power Rangers filled the neighborhood. 

Every Halloween for the past three years, my youngest son, now 14, has said he wasn’t going to go trick-or-treating, but every time, he’s changes his mind.  He was a football player this year and went with one of his friends. When he and his brothers were younger, I’d taken so many pictures, ooing and ahhing over the costumes as they showed me their Power Ranger kicks and stances.

As with my own kids, perhaps I’m going through some growing pains.  I can’t believe all those little children who used to ring my doorbell are all grown-up. So glad they are happy and successful, but it is bittersweet that Halloween isn’t what it used to be. 

But there are still some little ones down the street somewhere. And for them, I will keep my lights on and pumpkin on the porch.


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