Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Empty Nester Halloween

After answering the door about one hundred fifty times tonight, Shawn and I threw some candy in our pockets and put the rest on the front stoop, on-your-honor style.  I crossed my fingers that my festive orange bowl wouldn't get lifted, kept the light on, and escaped the neighborhood.

We headed over to Mr. Halloween's house - my friend and colleague, Shawn, whose kids are also grown but who is a big kid himself.  He started talking to me about Halloween one hot day in July when he wondered aloud if he should be watering the drought-ridden grass so it would be okay by 10/31.  In recent weeks, he sent me pictures with the progress he was making on his scary decorations - signs he made and lawn ornaments he had installed - and tonight we saw the colored flood lights showcasing the magic mirror, the smoking cauldron, and the zombie himself in action.  He told me one of the best parts of the night, besides the obvious cuteness and joy of the kids, is that parents stop by and ring his doorbell later in the evening, after their kids are tucked in bed, just to say "thanks".

Returning home late tonight (after trick-or-treating on Fitzpatrick Court), noticing dark front porches and smashed pumpkins, I thought about how I am so not into this "holiday" anymore.  I thought about how my friend Shawn is building a personal legacy around this crazy day.  It used to be a very big deal at my house.  But now:  No more rushing home from work to feed the kids, paint their faces, or light the jack-o-lanterns. 

It was comforting to notice that many of our empty nester friends and neighbors also only had one pumpkin on the stoop...and lots of triangle eye carvings at that.  Maybe it's not so weird to not get into Halloween anymore.

Forget my hideous pumpkin sweatshirt I wore every year, along with the black and orange socks and dangling pumpkin earrings.  No more gauzy cotton spider web strings hanging in the bushes either.

Halloween is really now just a blunt reminder that I have to gear up for the holiday season.

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