Can you imagine welcoming thousands of visitors to your home in one evening? Well, I can. And I look forward to it every year.
Our evening of fun is on Halloween. My neighborhood, College Hill, is known for its enthusiastic Halloween celebrations. Ghost ships, Wizard of Oz displays, Harry Potter, and pumpkins galore are in full display. One street in the neighborhood in particular, Broadview, has been coined Halloween Street thanks to some caring and thoughtful folks who started this tradition over 30 years ago. It’s incredible to recognize the commitment of these neighbors to create a special time for an average around 4,000-5,000 trick or treaters. Add in the parent chaperones and it is a packed area.
I live one street over from Broadview, and I think it’s just as busy. We’ve joined in the fun with our two inflatable cats with glowing eyes and extension cord tails. We’ve added spider webs and a few gravestones for good measure. I did have to learn a few “tricks” right off the “bat” as our first Halloween in the neighborhood was the day we closed on our house. I naively purchased 2 giant bags of candy thinking I was covered. HA! I now start stocking up throughout the fall to have enough on hand.
For years my oldest has preferred to pass out candy instead of trick or treating. I now get to watch our friends’ kids join in the fun. They all love seeing the costumes, meeting the kids and giving away two pieces of candy per person. It’s the simple joy of giving (even if it is just candy in this case) that fills our hearts.
To me, Halloween is bigger than the crowds and candy; this special night truly embodies the spirit of community that I see throughout the year. I love the diversity of College Hill and am grateful for the openness of my neighbors to welcome everyone from the cute little kids to the awkward teenagers dressed in nothing more than what I assume is their everyday garb. I certainly can appreciate their excitement for free candy.
So when I complain about my old, creaky house built 100 years ago, I remember why it matters. Why community trumps perfectly groomed homes with even sidewalks that you can’t trip on in the dark. We live life here. Life that is open and inviting and accepting. And a night of welcome-ness and happiness matters this year and every year.