The Boy: “Sleep is just a time warp between bedtime & breakfast.”
We went to Arizona for Thanksgiving to visit KK. At the Phoenix airport waiting for our flight home, The Boy observed: “What kind of airport has carpet with pictures of planes flying over hurricanes? Way to go, Phoenix.”
Me, as this song comes on the radio: “I used to think this song was so sweet, but it’s actually kind of sad.”
The Girl: “Mom… In happiness, we hear the music. In sadness, we listen to the lyrics.”
“He’s 13. He’s too old for trick or treat,” said a coworker.
I kept my mouth shut. I wasn’t sure I wanted to admit that my two – now ages 14 & 11 – still trick or treat. Still plan their costumes out for more than a month. Still have a bunch of their friends over to our neighborhood where they all head out together.
Except for one brief moment when The Girl asked if I thought she was too old to trick or treat this year, there really is no question. I panicked when she asked. “But this night is just about the most fun we have in this neighborhood,” I thought. So the idea that maybe they wouldn’t go this year kind of threw me.
Maybe that’s all it is – our neighborhood. We live on a big wide street with an island in the middle. The crowds are everywhere. People come from other towns to trick or treat in our neighborhood. Part of that is because our town holds trick or treat the Saturday before October 31. This year, when October 31 was actually on a Saturday, I assumed everyone would stay in their own towns & we’d have less of a crowd. I was wrong. We usually end up with about 1,000 people coming to our door. Or more accurately, our porch. No one stays inside waiting for the doorbell to ring. There are just too many people so we all sit on our front porches. Friends & family join me & people stop to pose their kids for pictures under the large archway over my front walk. I hope they’re not too disappointed when they notice me in the background, smiling & toasting their little darling with my skull-shaped wine glass. Often, there is a line down my walkway, under the arch & onto the sidewalk.
Maybe that’s really all it is. The camaraderie. Not just for the neighbors, but for my kids. Even though I hear complaints about teenagers trick or treating, I love it when they come to my door. Sure the little kids are cute – downright adorable, even. But the teenagers usually make my night.
Some of them are shy – almost as if they feel like they shouldn’t be out doing this – and that’s mostly the girls. But their elaborate make up & outfits are usually amazing. The guys though…. throw on a Scream mask with your jeans & hoodie or your high school football uniform, put your backpack on your front with the zipper open & it’s candy city! Perhaps I’m looking through rose-colored glasses or maybe it’s what’s in my skull-shaped wine glass but these kids are great. They’re funny, polite & they’ll usually stop to tell me about their football team or pose for a picture if I ask.
Maybe it’s part preservation. Don’t be grumpy to the teenagers when they come to the door & there’s less of a chance I’ll wake up to toilet paper covering my house. Maybe it’s that I hope my neighbors are being nice to the crowd I sent out. Whatever it is, I enjoy their presence. I think teenagers are fascinating people. They’re old enough to have well thought out opinions, their humor is starting to be more sophisticated & their world view is getting larger. I know there are many who feel like my coworker. That there’s an age limit on trick or treat but I disagree.
As long as I’m sitting on this front porch, there will be candy for anyone who wants it. Sometimes I’ll even give them a few extra. They’re still growing & let’s face it – it takes about 30 of those mini Snickers to make a full size bar. Who knows. Maybe next year is the year The Girl decides she’s not going. But as long as this crowd is still with her, I bet she’ll be out there.
The Boy: “I’m not having kids when I get older.”
The Boy’s buddy, Tyler: “Why not? Don’t you want to add another useful person to the world?
The Boy: “Not everyone who’s born is useful. Look at Obama.”
Me, emptying The Boy’s laundry basket: “Why are there so many clothes in here? I just emptied this two days ago.”
The Boy: “I like to change my clothes when I get home from school.”
Me: “So you take off sweatpants & a t-shirt & put on sweatpants & a t-shirt?”
The Boy: “Yeah. I don’t want to smell like chalk & despair & crushed dreams.”