Ask anyone aged four and beyond is Halloween is important to them and the answer is sure to be a resounding, “Yes!” This is no surprise to me. As a Mom who spent many a sleepless night hand sewing just the right trim on a gold lame dress for my daughter to be Beauty and Beast’s Belle, or traveled from store to store to get matching boots for my sons to be Mario and Luigi of Nintendo fame, I know the significance of Halloween. While all those sleepless nights and endless trips to the store for that just right accessory may be scary enough, Halloween is not without its fun side.
In fact, some of my happiest memories are of me and my children trick or treating around our neighborhood. Any mother will tell you the extreme importance of just who gets to ring the doorbell first and be the first to lead the pack in a resounding, “Trick or treat.” Being the organized Mom that I thought I was, I worked out a system that I assumed would work like a magic wand. Simply put, it was a turn taking game that involved the oldest going first, the second oldest going next, and finally, the youngest getting her turn. Should the door upon whom we were seeking to frighten remain dark and unanswered, the next person in line would automatically win the right to ring the next doorbell. This was working out just fine until we hit upon a streak of Grinch’s in the area who would not open the door to participate in the annual right of passage for children everywhere.
My children were getting grumpy and I was feeling a little hurt as I have never failed to welcome little ghosts and goblins whenever they rang our doorbell. As you can imagine all the dark porches and unanswered doors wrecked havoc on my system. After a little arguing and a bit of cajoling, I got my youngest to agree that maybe she should consider giving her oldest brother the privilege of ringing the next doorbell. The bribe involved allowing her to wear her Belle tiara to school the next day but I figured it was more than worth the compromise. Oh boy, was I right!
We approached the next dimly lit porch and before anyone even contemplated ringing the doorbell we discussed who lived in the house and whether or not the booty would be worth it. I, as the dutiful parent, allowed my oldest to approach the porch with my two younger children following behind. I remained further back on the pathway so they could foster their independence and get the full Halloween experience. As they got closer to the covered doorway they could see Halloween light and flying ghosts hung from the eaves on the porch. They kept yelling back to me how cool the place looked. Inching closer to the doorway, out on the stoop was a fog machine generating the eeriness that goes with the evening. Bales of hay were strewn on the porch with fall leaves crackling as they walked. Then it happened.
My son waited nicely for his brother and sister to catch up, he poised his chubby little finger towards the doorbell and “Blaaahhh!” Out from a pile of leaves sprang the homeowner who had taken in the whole scene from his hiding spot. My eldest seem to sprout wings as he flew off the porch with his siblings behind him. I could not stop laughing at the reaction my children had. They had to admit that the trick, while scary at first, did symbolize Halloween. After that, there were no more arguments over who rang the bell first but most importantly, all these years later, it remains one of our funniest, happiest, and fondest Halloween memories.