I used to be one of those people who would get in the car and drive with my parents to the neighborhood where they used to live when my sister was young in order to go trick-or-treating. My neighborhood wasn’t so great for that time of year because we lived on a substantial hill. One year we had two trick-or-treaters, another year none. I’d go to “the old neighborhood” with friends of our family and go house to house; I knew some of the neighbors on that street better than my own neighborhood, and it was fun, but it was always a bit bittersweet since it wasn’t really where I lived.
This will be my first year having Halloween where trick-or-treaters come to our house. Our house. Our street. Our neighborhood. Now, maybe it’s not that big of a deal – I know a lot of people around here who take their kids to other neighborhoods to trick-or-treat – but Halloween was always one of my favorite holidays and I never really saw it in its full glory.When we entered escrow on our house last year, it was two days before Halloween. My husband drove down our new street and said it was incredible – children were everywhere, there were at least two parties, and nearly every house was decorated. Colorful leaves covered the street, and it was the perfect picture for the holiday. I was at home (our previous home) with the baby, waiting to go to a friend’s house to watch the kids come there trick-or-treating, but I couldn’t wait until this year to see it in action.
It began about three weeks ago – the decorating, I mean. I had no idea people would decorate so far in advance or in such detail for Halloween. I never thought about it, really. They do that for Christmas, but I had never seen this kind of house decorating for any other holiday. Skeletons, pumpkins, cobwebs – tons of huge cobwebs, gigantic spiders, ghosts, grave stones, the grim reaper and one coffin. Woo fun. At first, I was afraid my little girl would be scared of all of these things, but being not even two yet, she doesn’t know they’re supposed to be scary. We put up a small skeleton on our front porch and she gave it a name, “Poppy.”
My husband was talking with one of our neighbors – the one with the coffin – and she warned that if we didn’t decorate, some of the kids would just pass us by, so we got our act together and followed suit with the others on our street, adding a giant cobweb, a pair of grave stones and pumpkins. My husband brought 900-pieces of candy home from Costco. “I hope it’s enough,” he said. I thought he was joking. I guess we’ll find out. I’ve never lived in a real “neighborhood” before, where people get together and plan activities. We have a book club and an annual block party, and now we have Halloween. I’m still learning about getting in the spirit (“Boo!”) but it’s an adventure.
Now we’ve completed our decorating, we got ourselves costumes and we’re preparing a battle plan for Wednesday night. Next step: teaching the toddler how to say: “Trick or Treat” and figuring-out how to juggle handing-out candies with prowling the ‘hood. I heard one house offers margaritas to all adults who stop by, so we know where we’re going first.
Cross-posted at the Silicon Valley Moms Blog.