Petition to Re-Label Halloween the Holiday of Hope and Good Cheer. I’m Not Even Joking.
I don’t exactly know why, but Mondays have started taking on a lot more pressure since starting this blog. I have to tell you that I spend the day feeling terrible — terrible — if I can’t knock out a post on a Monday morning. I feel like I let you down.
Is it more excusable if a missed Monday happens to be a holiday?
Didn’t think so.
Especially when it’s a holiday I’ve already kind of openly admitted that I don’t take very seriously. Like last year, I spent the evening passing out candy from my neighbor’s front porch. Only this year I graduated from hiding a wine glass behind the railing to hiding a martini glass.
Because if you’re going to force me to sit outside for 2 hours when it’s cold and raining, you can bet your slutty bunny ears that I’m going to do what it takes to stay warm.
I have to admit, though, the little kids kind of get to me on Halloween. In a good way. They soften my cold, anti-kid Grinchy heart with their tiny pink tutus and sparkling bug antennae and Harry Potter glasses. The ones who actually walk door-to-door with their parents (as opposed to riding inside the ever-popular neighborhood golf carts or, even worse, hopping into the back of the family mini van to ride 200 feet down the street at a time) get extra candy.
I mean… really, parents? This is North Carolina, not the North Pole. You’re not going to freeze to death while walking your kids from house to house on Halloween. Especially if you pack a flask. You might even find that you… I don’t know… bond. Plus, you’ll feel a lot less guilty about the occasional Reese’s you snag from their bags.
As much as the little kids get me with their doe-eyed, sugar-highed cuteness, the big ones get to me, too. In a not good way.
You know the ones I’m talking about.
Usually they’re boys, and they’ve reached that age — maybe 12 or 13 — where they apparently feel a little too old to dress up, but apparently not too old to walk door to door begging for handouts.
Except they don’t even beg.
Just try getting one to say, “trick-or-treat.” I dare you.
They just stare at the bowl of candy, avoiding eye contact with homeowners (or in my case, the martini-laden girl who sits on the front stoop with a bowl of chocolaty goodness), holding out their pillowcases. Then, when they’ve gotten what they came for, they turn and hightail it out of there, fixing their Justin Bieber hair beneath their hoodies so they’ll still look good when they go home to take photos of their hauls to post on Facebook.
They don’t even say thank you.
And that’s what ticks me off the most.
If you’re old enough to make the conscious decision to not dress up for Halloween and yet still go door-to-door taking candy from strangers, you’re old enough to say “thank you.”
And I let them know that.
And then my neighbor yells at me because she’s afraid I’m going to get her house egged.
It was about time to close up shop last night when a few stragglers came rambling down the driveway. Tall stragglers.
Great, I thought, here come these teenagers who think I owe them something for throwing Daddy’s Army jacket over their Polo shirts to take the last of my chocolate. MY chocolate.
I sighed and took one more sip from my sidecar before they got close enough to notice.
But wait. What’s this? They’re wearing costumes? Costumes that took… effort?
“Nice costumes!” I said with a smile when they approached the stoop. “Though I’m not sure what that one is.” I pointed to the kid in the middle.
“I’m a Central American revolutionary fighter!” he said with a proud smile.
No. Frickin’. Way.
Not only did this kid know there were people with real political struggles outside of the U.S., but he knew there were people outside of the U.S.
It totally blew my mind.
“Really?” I asked. “Which country? Nicaragua? Guatemala?”
“I didn’t really specify,” he said with a laugh. “But I’d love to visit Costa Rica one day.”
Of course that opened the floodgates. After all, I spent 2 months there last year. We spent a few minutes excitedly discussing the merits of work exchanges, and I could literally see the light behind his eyes as he mentally explored the boundary-less possibilities. His friends piped in with their passion for travel as well, and then they made their way back up the driveway after exchanging “thank yous” and “goodbyes” in English, Spanish, and German.
They said thank-you.
No, they said thank you very much.
I was flabbergasted.
And it made me happy to think that these kids — especially the one in the middle — probably would travel and experience the world. They might even make a difference. Something I’ve failed, so far, to make myself do. And I wanted to call their parents and thank them for giving me hope for the future — for raising little people who cared about more than trying to get famous or which Kardashian is getting divorced.
Is that a little much?
But it doesn’t change the fact that this year for me, Halloween — that holiday I usually face with amused disdain — turned into the holiday of Hope.
And any time Hope comes pre-packaged with adorable fairy princesses and mini Peanut Butter Cups is just fine with me.
Thank you very much.