Halloween seemed over too fast this year, and though mine was quiet, it was enjoyable. I decorated the front of the house with pumpkin lights in the hedges along the walk, and candy-corn lights in the front hedges, little blinking pumpkin luminaris in the grass in front of the big window, and a garland of pumpkins and black dripping from the porch light. I had my ceramic ghost candle-holders on the mantle, and the cauldron candle tree ablaze in the dining room window, and 12 bags of candy to pass out.
Here’s my thing about candy, by the way: It’s important to give the good stuff, and not be stingy. At my house, chocolate is the rule of the day (those shaped assortment packs with the peppermint ‘batty’ and the reese’s pumpkin were a hit with neighborhood kids), and I give two pieces to each kid, three if I like their costume. Usually, I enforce a “no costume, no candy” rule, but will relent if they compliment my pumpkin. Flattery gets them everywhere. (This year’s pumpkin was an Aztec sun – pix later.) This is a little extravagant, I’ll admit, but my house has never been egged, and the kids are always polite. It’s worth a little bribery to achieve that.
I set up camp in my dining room (which I never use when we don’t have company, and that’s sad. It’s such a cozy room, and it’s the only room on the first floor with a street view), with my laptop, coffee, and the requisite orange-frosted cupcake. You know, the kind from the grocery store with frosting that feels like wax coating on your teeth? They’re disgusting, but they’re a tradition I keep partly because it makes me happy, and partly in honor of one of my best friends, Jen in Colorado, with whom I’ve stopped to buy them from an all-night Safeway on the way home from the Halloween gathering in the Castro. It’s the friends you can walk down Market Street eating cupcakes with at two in the morning, who really count.
At 5:30, when it was just starting to get dark, I worried there would be no kids. At 6:24 the first kid showed up, an adorable eight-ish-year-old in a homemade Hermione Granger costume. She got bonus points for having a scarf her grandmother knitted (I asked), for being personable, and for pausing as she left, to wave her wand at the blinky pumpkins, and yell “Lumos!” just as they blinked ON. By eight, I’d refilled the candy bowl a second time, for the teenagers. I think the drama group from the local high school came en masse – they got points for BEING their characters, and I had fun teasing them. “You all get three pieces each, for being creative,” I said. And one of the guys repeated it. “We get three pieces,” he told his friends, “Because this lady’s wonderful.”
At 9:00 one last straggler showed up – she’s probably the kid whose parents couldn’t get home from work, and I let her take a handful. I kept the light on til 9:30, then closed everything down. Except the pumpkin, which is still glowing happily on the side table in the living room (it’s sporting a cool pumpkin light, this year).
During the trick-or-treating, I chatted with friends, and did some research for a series of articles on online advertising – actually learned a couple things I didn’t know – and found myself wishing one of the adorable children was mine. “I’m 36,
I whined textually to a friend in Canada. “Aren’t I too old for this?” She assured me I wasn’t.
Fuzzy didn’t seem to mind that I accosted him as soon as he came home, either.