Jordan and I have taken the same picture
for several Halloweens now. In truth, I think I look better this year than in
some previous years (well, maybe not--I just looked again), but she always makes an adorable witch. We live in an
older neighborhood with sidewalks, big houses (ours is not), and generous people—which
means that hordes of people come trick-or-treating in our neighborhood. There
are traffic jams, cars parked end to end in every available spot, and a steady
stream of children—and adults—coming to the front porch carrying everything
from pumpkin shaped containers to pillowcases. Some of the tricksters are so
young, they can barely toddle up the walk, and I said I think a few must be wondering,
“Why are my parents doing this to me? I want to be home in my bed.”
Nonetheless, it’s all festive and fun.
Christian claims Halloween as one of his
favorite holidays, and he decorates inside and out lavishly. The front yard has
skeletons and tombstones and scary spiders, none of which the kids pay much
attention to. But he and Jordan both are in their element handing our candy to
kids, and some of the kids are irresistible.
I spent some time tonight talking to one
of Jordan’s high school friends—he was her very first boyfriend and is still
family—and he said, “It wasn’t like this when we were kids.” But he grew up in
another neighborhood. The kids and I lived in Berkeley for two years when I was
first a single mom, and I don’t remember the crowds either. But when we moved
back in 1992, they were here and have been every year since. After my kids were
grown and gone, some years I turned out all the lights and hid in my study (the
light from the computer gave me away, but most people were respectful). A few
years I was in Austin for Texas Book Festival and handed out treats at Megan’s
house—in those years Jordan generally came to man the front porch at my house.
Other years I turned out the lights and went next door to the neighbors’, where
Susan served beef stew and, artist that she is, provided grocery sack costumes
for each of us. Yes, Halloween has pleasant memories even if it is not my
Sophie did not like it at all tonight.
She knew I was going into the big house—her instinct for that is unerring—and she
is immediately insistent that she go too. Tonight, Jacob came to get me (I need
help on the stairs to the deck) and locked her in the bathroom until I was
safely inside. Then he let her out but kept her locked in the cottage. She’s
one of the reasons I came back out early. I don’t mind leaving her alone when I
go out to dinner or something, but I feel guilty when she knows I’m on the
property and she’s not allowed.
Now that I’m back, she’s in the yard,
but she just started barking, so I tricked her into coming inside. I am
definitely over-protective of her, but Halloween is one of those nights when I
feel it best to keep dogs and cats—and rabbits and whatever you have—inside.
You never know. Sophie neither understands nor likes my logic and is itching to
Jordan fixed her usual delicious spread
of veggies and dip, and various guests brought potato salad, dip and chips,
etc. I contributed green bean salad, one of my favorite new recipes (who needs a recipe for bean salad, but you’d
be surprised by this one), and Christian grilled hamburgers. But a little after
seven, he had just started the grill, and with thirteen people on the porch,
plus the crowd on the street, it was getting so noisy I couldn’t hear. Jordan
walked me back to the cottage and about seven-forty-five brought me a plate of
supper. So good! But I was glad to be back in my quiet cottage.
By nine, nine-thirty or so, the crowds melt
into the darkness, and Halloween is over for another year. And I’m always a bit
glad. So the decorations will go down, and the world will return to normal.
Next up, Thanksgiving, and think how fast it’s coming!