I described small town Halloween to someone this week as the last vestige of "free-range childhood". There was much laughter but its a true and sad statement from my point of view. There are so many wonderful things lost to the last two generations. The freedom to not be afraid to let your kids roam the neighborhood and start a dodge ball game in the street. Freedom to let the teens take a group of little ones around the block to show off their costumes and collect some candy when they are technically too old to Trick or Treat. We need a world where kids are safe to be kids and cherished by all the adults in the community. Even so, lots of Trick or Treaters tonight.
A couple of the young ones really got my attention tonight. They all said "thank you m'am" or simply "Thank you." Either way, it was lovely to hear and is quite common here in South Texas. Children with manners. But a couple of them took it a little further and really made my day.
One young man complimented my costume. I simply had pinned on a sparkly copper leaf and he called me "Autumn". Another young girl who didn't come up to my waist said she liked the way my house smelled. (It was either coffee or hot wings - not sure which. Coffee has invaded every corner of my being it seems! Could that girl be a future barista for me to hire in a few years?)
Hearing kids interact easily with adults tells me that they are comfortable, confident and feel that it is OK to engage in conversation when they knock on my door on Halloween. That is a good thing. I hope that carries forward into confidence and kindness as they grow into adults. Being able to converse with live humans is a skill much needed in this virtual world. (I'm thinking of you as right here with me while I'd writing!)
One of the kids was delighted to see my black cat when I opened the door to give out the candy tonight. She has been with me for a long time and isn't well, so this could be her last Halloween. I'm glad she added to the ambiance for someone other than me!
I'll always enjoy Halloween and seeing the creative costumes the children and their parents come up with. They are beginning their lives while I am rounding the corner into the last quarter of mine. The best part of that is being here to watch the future growing up around me, polite, respectful and having fun with their parents and friends on a special day.