If it weren't for the kids, who love Hallowe'en, I'd probably be one of those grumps who hide in my basement with the lights off so that no-one comes to my door. Not that anyone, in the six years we've lived here, has ever ventured down the quarter mile long laneway even when all the lights have been on and the kids' jack o'lanterns are glowing in the windows. Most kids are more savvy than to bother with the country when they can go to the nearby villages and towns. Which is what we did last night after a leisurely get together dinner with friends.
We started off at the firehall where the volunteer firefighters and Sparky the fire dog served hot chocolate and snacks to anyone who ventured by (about 700 kids most years), and then went trick or treating through small town Ontario. And I discovered that despite it all, there are benefits to Hallowe'en.
1. Walking the leaf-strewn streets of a small town past the library and the senior's centre and the community hall and the century brick and gingerbread homes is a wonderful experience, and on a night like last night, where it was cool but not cold, and a full moon scurried in between clouds, was downright beautiful.
2. We got to socialize and catch up with all the people we know but don't always get a chance to see. While the kids ran up to doors, we stood in the streets chatting and exchanging news with old friends, as well as meeting parents of friends the children have made in their new school. I had the urge all night to say things such as "Well met again by moonlight" but resisted because Andrew would have disowned me if I started quoting Shakespeare at random.
3. While there are always some teenagers who think regular clothes and a mask do a Hallowe'en costume make, some of the other costumes were clever and intricate and really very well done.
4. As for the kids, they were all just adorable. Nothing is more cute than a wobbly 18 month old in a Tigger costume or a Bat Man suit.
5. On the way home we stopped at the rural homes of some of our older neighbours because they don't get out as much and because they love to see the kids, and though it took roughly 10 minutes at each house, it was worth it just for the smiles.