Halloween was no fun this year.

My kids had a blast, but it was a bummer for me. It had a hectic quality to it, partly because of the storm, and partly because we were split up as a family.

Halloweens past were nights where our little family headed out as a foursome, plastic pumpkins and flashlights in hand. Some years we hooked up with other families, some were more organic where we bumped into the kids’ friends and we would just join their group for a few blocks.

As the kids got older, I began to feel the desire to stay home and hand out candy. Year after year we’d leave out a bowl of candy on the honor system. Every year we’d come home to find it empty. The cynic in me envisioned a gang of hoodlums grabbing every last Kit Kat bar with reckless abandon. I was curious to see just how many kids we got at our door.

A few years back I actually talked my husband into letting me stay home. He took over the role of curb-side guardian and escorted the kids through the maze of backstreets in our neighborhood.

I poured some wine, found a good scary movie on the boob tube and settled in for the doorbell to ring. I think we only got 4 groups of kids.

I live on a busy street, and my neighbors don’t participate in Halloween. My house, bedecked with lights, ghosts, demons and a giant spider web sits amidst at least 8 houses where porch lights are left off – the international sign for “beat it, kid!”

In short, my house is in a dud zone and gets very little traffic.

This year hubby had to work on Halloween, and my oldest, who’s in a play, had rehearsals late and then was going out with her friends. That left me and my 10 year old to brave All Hallows’ Eve alone.

I got home from work, made a quick dinner, and then set myself to the task of turning my daughter into a queen from the dead. Before I knew it, it was 6:15 and getting dark – time to head out the door!

Our trick or treating excursion was both nice and a drag. We were out alone, just mother and daughter, among large groups of laughing kids and chatting parents. I wondered why my girl wasn’t invited to go out with friends. I have to admit, it made me a little sad.

But she didn’t care. She was tickled pink to be out with me trudging up and down driveways and steps collecting Raisinettes and Tootsie Rolls. I asked her if she would rather be out with friends, but sweetheart that she is, she said she preferred just walking around with me.

By 8:15 she and I were both bushed. We went home, surveyed her take for the night, changed into comfies and relaxed on the couch – me with some wine, her with a Snickers. Once we got older sister home we all snuggled in and watched “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” which my oldest had been clever enough to DVR.

It was certainly a different kind of Halloween for me – one that I will have to get used to. By next year, daughter #1 will be in college (one hopes) and it will once again just be me and my youngest girl, out to brave the night together.

Then, the day will come where I have no child to guide through the neighborhood. It will be my turn to fussily make goody bags, deck my house out with lights, drink wine and wait for the doorbell to ring.

It will be bittersweet for sure.

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