Saturday, October 31, 2009

Who Are The People in Your Neighborhood?

Hallowe'en. It's considered a bad, evil day but I think that the children have redeemed this pagan holiday, or perhaps the better word is reclaimed it.

I love the excitement of my kids, and I think my youngest, the just-turned-five year old truly encapsulates what is means to be completely excited about Hallowe'en. All 3 of them have been excited all day but it shines most brightly in her.

I hate to admit this but Hallowe'en is perhaps the only time I really get to visit with most of my neighbors, and afterwards I have such a smile on my face as I realize what wonderful people they are and how I really should get to know them more. Some of them truly love my kids.

The evening:

We decided to postpone out going out for two reasons: The first is because most houses were dark on our street until 7, and also because our fence neighbor, Andrew was at a party and my kids just HAD to trick-or-treat with Andrew! So we waited. My middle child had a bit of a melt down so it gave him time for a time out and an opportunity to calm down. Then I got The Text: My neighbor informing me that they were ready to commence the art of trick or treating! We hurriedly traipse over to their home, and begin.... ringing doorbells down their street, then ours. It was oddly silent on our street. It's so odd because literally one block away there are SWARMS of trick-or-treaters but on our street it's traditionally silent. So the houses we did knock on doors to where extra happy to see my 3 kids, plus their 2 buddies.

We get to the corner house where a really wonderful older couple live. We've chatted previously and they were looking forward to my kids' visit. They handed them several pieces of candy and then handed us 3 boxes of a kids assortment of See's candy. Wow... what wonderful neighbors! They explained it was special for the kids they know. (there are relatively few kids on my street)

Next, we cross the street. Katie is chanting "Yum, yum, yum!" the whole way up the pathway. Someone asks what she is and she replies that she's Katie. (she's dressed as a butterfly) So happy and trusting, she is racing from house to house, just thrilled with this concept of saying hello to people and asking for candy. (She loves candy, BTW) My boys are also happily skipping from house to house.

At one house, the house owner wants to take a picture of the kids. I smile; I love this! (yes, I know them!) My kids happily oblige and we move onto to the next candy, I mean, house. Now we turn onto the "happening" street; this street really enjoys celebrating Hallowe'en! There are several "scary haunted" entryways. My kids are all fearless and, lured by candy, happily brave the unknown.

At one house, the elderly homeowner, is sitting in a chair on her immaculate patio, perfectly and tastefully decorated for the fall season, and she's has a little table and a tub of candy. She's joyfully interacting with the kids, giving out candy and obviously enjoying this time of community. I wonder if she's lonely; I wonder if she'd love my kids to visit more often.

We traipse on. Again, Katie just can't get enough. We have now joined "the swarm". There must be 30 kids all together now, hard to keep track of the kids but we manage. We live just 3 blocks from the elementary school, so many of these kids we know. My oldest is saying hi to his classmates. I see and say hello to lots of parents, including one that is a teacher at the school. It seems to joyful; so fun being with each other. We're only 2 blocks from home but already my kid's treat bags are bulging and they are anxious to eat some candy. My middle one starts making noises about going home; he's tired and his bag is heavy. The other 2 are still anxious to continue but we know that they have more than enough candy hidden in their bags! So we begin the journey home, continuing to trick or treat as we go.

So, as I type this we've been home maybe a total of 30 minutes. It was a quick 1 hour jaunt in roughly a few blocks, but boy was the payoff big! Way too much candy! And very happy, excited and sugary kids! I pity their Sunday School leaders tomorrow!

We've had a total of 7 visitors since typing this up. (3 groups) Katie is just as excited to give out the candy as she was to receive; she's more generous than I'd be..... giving them as much candy as her small fists allow. She says thank you to them. They think she's the cutest Monarch Butterfly they've ever seen. A trio of fourth grade girls come to the door. They are Conor's classmates and say hello to him. He nonchalantly says hello but I can see he's happy they've knocked on our door. Like I said, we don't get many trick- or-treaters on our street! Each time Katie gives them fistfuls of candy. I wonder if she's adhering to the "Do unto others as you've have them do unto you" principe. Regardless, I love seeing her excitement in giving and her generosity; especially knowing her affinity for candy. She's even sharing with her daddy and brothers.

We were invited to go out to another's neighborhood to trick-or-treat but I'm so happy that we decided to stay in our own community. I loved the interaction with neighbors. I loved being with my husband as he greeted the other dads that he sees rarely yet enjoys. I do hope that this leads to opportunities of more sharing. It's exciting and just feels so fulfilling. I've not eaten any candy yet and even I feel that I am on a "sugar high".

Who knew this holiday would instill such an excitement for community in me? How about you? What was your Hallowe'en like?

Oh, and who else is now singing the classic Sesame Street song?

"Oh, who are the people in your neighborhood?
In your neighborhood?
In your neighborhood?
Say, who are the people in your neighborhood?
The people that you meet each day

Oh, the postman always brings the mail
Through rain or snow or sleet or hail
I'll work and work the whole day through
To get your letters safe to you

'Cause a postman is a person in your neighborhood
In your neighborhood
He's in your neighborhood
A postman is a person in your neighborhood
A person that you meet each day"

Need I go on?

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