Halloween is right around the corner, at least that's what my son keeps telling me. He's already working on a route that will allow him to knock on the maximum number of doors in a two-hour period. He's testing the tensile strength of grocery bags to see which brand withstands the most weight in chocolate bars. He's already informed my wife and I that we should have a quick dinner ready so he can hit the streets with his friends as soon as the porch lights turn on.
While it's a bit perplexing to me that a young man who doesn't remember he had a book report due until I'm dropping him off at school can put so much preplanning into one evening days away, I won't discourage him a bit. After all, Halloween is for kids.
As a grown-up my involvement has been curtailed into standing at the front door passing out Snickers bars (and sampling a few myself). But I can watch my son and remember how exciting the last day in October was for me as a child all those years ago.
The two most impressive things about Halloween as I recall them were the candy distribution system and the fashion show.
There was something so perfect about being able to knock on someone's door and have them hand you a treat, no questions asked. If everything in life worked that easy, this world would be a much more pleasant place to live.
And it was always fun to see my friends unmasked at the end of the night. Usually I could guess who was who early in the evening by observing the gait of their walk or by listening to the sound of their voice, muffled as it may have been by a cheap plastic mask.
But there were always a few who managed to somehow stay anonymous. I was surprised to find out that a frightening monster was actually the kid from down the street who was scared of his own shadow or, even more disturbing, that the beauty queen who had been shadowing our group all night turned out to be a good friend's older brother. They say you can't judge by appearances, and I guess that's doubly true on Halloween.
Halloween has changed quite a bit for me since the 1970s. I got rid of my Jamesway Batman costume years ago, and I'm now the one handing the candy out. But it's still a lot of fun greeting people from the neighborhood and seeing the imaginative get-ups of the kids.
Have a happy Halloween!