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Monday, November 1, 2010

Goody Bags and Wide Open Spaces

Pin It I love Halloween. It's the whole "autumn" thing, I think...crunchy leaves, glowing streetlamps, a crispness in the air...it's my favorite season.

I love this time of year where we live. I'm surrounded by trees that are shedding their summer glories, fields that are slowly turning golden, and a lovely quiet in which to enjoy it.

I have to confess, though: if there were one time during the year where I wish I lived closer to people, it'd be Halloween.

Each year, I pile the kids in the car and drive away to a location scouted out for particularly worthy Halloween loot. We've discovered some really great neighborhoods and some not so great ones. There's one inhabited largely by older people that we gave up on, despite really cool decorations. I think that whole fixed-income thing had a lot to do with the "single Tootsie roll per child" rule that seemed pretty par for the course.

Then there were the really ritzy neighborhoods that actually had pretty good candy...if you were willing to trek a quarter-mile driveway to achieve each benefice.

The best, I've come to believe, are the standard middle-class neighborhoods that are full of kids. I'm wondering if there's some unspoken competition going on for Best Haunted House, Best Mums, and Best Halloween Handful. We went to such a neighborhood last night, and the kids racked up.

I'm always a little sad, though, that I can't stay home and hand out candy. Nobody comes to our house, because it's a quarter mile away from anyone else's. And then that person's house is a quarter mile from anyone's. It may sound silly, but I would LOVE to stay home and pass out Halloween goodies to adorably decked out kids.

I would make the best little Halloween goody bags, filled with a cool mixture of useless plastic things and truly excellent candy--Reeses' Cups, and Twix. No Tootsie Rolls for me. My yard would be decorated with all of those cool Halloween things...if there were a competition for best decorations, I'd win it for sure. I'm just saying. I'd probably even have a table with hot chocolate.

But alas, it is not to be. When you trade the neatly ordered driveways of a neighborhood for wide open spaces, there are certain things you lose. Neighbors, for one. Instead of little Johnny just running over after school, you carefully coordinate playdates that work with everyone's schedules. Instead of impromptu backyard barbeques, your community becomes your church, and groups of friends with whom you (again) carefully orchestrate lunch dates and girls' nights.

You lose the motivation of someone else's perfect lawn spurring your husband (or yourself) to measure up.

You make up for it in other ways, though. There's that whole "wide-open" thing. Instead of the neighbor's teenage son blaring his stereo, you get to listen to a symphony of squirrel and bird chatter. No one cares if your yard is less than perfect. You're left alone, for the most part, to go your own way and do your own thing, with no subtle community pressure to be a "joiner". You can sip your morning coffee in your underwear in the front yard, and no one would be the wiser. (Not that I do that, of course.)

So. I suppose I'm trading goody bags for peace and solitude. I guess I can deal.


Sue said...

Seems like an equitable trade-off!


PS. I have to confess that I gave out tootsie rolls, tootise roll pops, and Dots last night. Oh, and junior mints...

Mamma has spoken said...

I use to have hundreds of trick or treaters come to my house when we first moved here. We were one of the few subdivisions in the area. In the 18 years that we've lived here, the crowds have died down to where last night, I had maybe 50. You see I live on a hill, and if you go to the top of the hill, the houses are closer together and closer to the street AND it's flat. More candy with less effort. So I don't have the benifits of either.....

Anaise said...

Seems to me you have the better part!

Happy Halloween.

Lori said...

Sue--too funny! Sounds like you gave a good mix, though! :)

Bonnie-- :( That stinks. We're just so lazy these days!

Anaise--pluses and minuses! Nothing's 100% perfect, but I do enjoy my little slice of country. It's very different from the neighborhood where I grew up, where houses were literally about 15 feet apart and you were part and parcel of all your neighbors' business...

Anonymous said...


I completely understand, I've NEVER had "trick or treaters" come to my door eiher my entire life....and I've come to be okay with it....now....so next year bring your kids by my house....I am one of your closest neighbors...lol, even if I'm almost 1/2 mile away...:-....Shirley

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