My neighborhood is really good at Halloween. No, I mean it. We're really, really good at it! And we've been good at it for a long, long time.
The Halloween frenzy started innocently enough. Years ago, when the neighborhood was new, there were not many children. In fact for a long time it seemed like ours were the only ones ... not literally, but it did feel that way for a while. As more people moved in and the younger couples started having babies, the Halloween festivities grew.
On Halloween night we would block off the street and there would be carnival games in every driveway. Kids could bob for apples, go through a spook house, toss bean bags, etc. There was even a costume contest. Some years, after the kids were put to bed, parents would meet at the corner and have wine and cheese to wind down.
These photos are from Halloween around 1987 or so. The kids in these photos are in their late twenties and early thirties now. Some of them come back and bring their own kids now. The old carnival has evolved to a huge party at my next-door neighbor's house. Everyone brings a covered dish. We usually have hamburgers and hot dogs and we eat dinner before the trick-or-treating begins. In addition to all the Halloween candy, there are homemade popcorn balls and decorated cookies.
Neighbors bring lawn chairs, ice chests and our own bag or basket of candy. Kids trick-or-treat by walking from person-to-person around the driveway. Then they head out, accompanied by a few adults, to knock on doors around the area.
In our neighborhood, trick-or-treating often continues well into teenage years. We love that and we embrace it. Teenagers, with fangs and fake blood run through the neighborhood, toss water balloons and spray silly string at each other. And ... some of them still trick-or-treat. It's good clean fun and I love the fact that they're not too grown up to participate in the festivities. Most of the adults and parents are sitting outside and everybody is keeping an eye on everybody's kids. My kids embraced Halloween well into their high school years.
Several years ago when our baby left for college (that's him bobbing for apples), we felt that it was important to keep doing the activities we had always done. For the first few years, Grams made a covered dish and around sundown on Halloween we would head next door to participate in the neighborhood festivities. But, Grams soon discovered that it's just not the same and I didn't really enjoy Halloween any more. I missed my kids and I would get a bad case of the blues when Halloween came around. Grams soon concluded that this was one of the areas of my life where adjustments were called for. So for the past several years, Grams and Grandad have opted out of the neighborhood festivities and gone to the movies. That way I don't have to resist eating any Halloween candy and I don't get the blues. With just this small adjustment ... Grams made it!