As I plodded around our mile-long Halloween route, my cheeks hurt from smiling the entire way. Tears crowded the edges of my eyelids, threatening to ruin the sloth eyes I painted so meticulously hours earlier. It was the giddy children, clamoring through the streets together, their high-pitched, excited voices that got me. Oh how I have missed this! Me. It’s not always about my kids, despite the overcrowding of their ideas and news and physical presence intertwined with my everyday.
Halloween felt normal. And I had completely forgotten what it felt like.
We adults conversed briefly, falling in and out of groupings as we ambled after the kiddos. I stopped at howled at the Full Blue Moon, a wild eye watching our progress, and all of the kids stopped to howl with me. Especially Jillian, the small werewolf.
Yes, we wore masks, and most people pre-packaged candy, settling it in lumps on a table outside houses, the proffered hand sanitizer largely ignored. Our neighbor Eric threw candy from his balcony. The kids chorused “Happy Halloween” and that was the last house on our tour. We gathered in the living room for the annual counting, something my kids began doing before they could count high enough to tally their intake. Everyone shouted out totals amid the sounds of candy wrappers.
I snapped pictures of this totally normal scene, and I don’t need to look again because my mind is full of the happiness of holding this single holiday sacred in this turbulent, trying year. Amen.