Halloween is one of the nights that makes our neighborhood special.
The streets are filled with kids going from door to door, with the parents of the younger ones hanging back just far enough to give the kids some independence. The houses are decorated for the occasion, and one of our neighbors is playing spooky music loud enough for the whole street.
It is quite a festive atmosphere; by the time the night is over, we typically have had 100-150 trick or treaters come to our door, their faces filled with excitement.
I think I enjoy handing out candy almost as much as the kids enjoy getting it. Not only is it a chance to see some clever outfits, it also gives me the opportunity to observe human behavior.
This year we had the “little” candy bars, and some kids would simply come up and grab as many as they could fit in their hand, while others would just take one. Other kids would ask first, and I would tell them that they could take a couple. I did have a handful of kids ask me what I meant by “a couple”…
But what I like to look for most is the kids who say “thank you”.
I didn’t bother counting, but my sense was that maybe half or slightly more of the trick or treaters said thank you. And it didn’t seem to be biased towards gender or age. I remember a couple of three year olds saying thank you (without being prompted by their parents), and I had some teenagers who seemed intent on acting as if getting the candy was a smash and grab operation. At the same time, there were several teens who did say thank you.
I simply observe these behaviors; I don’t say anything if someone grabbed 10 pieces of candy or if they forget to say thank you.
But I do tell the kids who took just one piece of candy that they could take another one, and I make sure to say “you’re welcome” to those who said thanks.
I doubt if any of the trick or treaters picked up on anything like that, and why would they.
Tonight was about walking around your neighborhood with your friends and family dressed like a superhero, going from house to house for some free candy.
Life doesn’t get much better than that.