There’s candy all over my living room carpet–part of an elaborate bartering system set up between the sisters–but besides that, I am sweeping Halloween out of the house as quickly as possible. It’s not that I’m anti-Halloween. I just feel like it snuck up on me this year, so I’m trying to get a jump on Thanksgiving before it smacks me in the face. Plus, this is the first year that we’re actually hosting Thanksgiving, so I can’t be scrambling to pull out the Thankful Tree on the Sunday before, right?

We had a pretty crazy number of trick-or-treaters come to our house. The City of Schenectady had set trick-or-treating hours for 2-8 pm, which seemed like a very early start-time to me. And yes, I know that we’re not exactly in Schenectady, but we’re pretty dang close, plus we definitely have folks who drive over to our neighborhood just for the great trick-or-treating. Of these, I’d say almost half of the groups include parents who are holding their own bags for treats, too. Which, okay, it’s a bit comical and I know that people find it irritating, but it’s a great lesson in gratitude. I mean, not only do I get to live in a neighborhood that’s pleasant to walk around and filled with friendly people, but I can also pretty much buy myself some candy whenever I dang well please. By the end of the evening we were pretty much wiped out. The Snickers, Reese’s, Sour Patch Kids, and rainbow slinkies were all long gone, leaving us with just some Whoppers and sidewalk chalk. Of course, then the girls gathered up enough candy that they can afford to be picky, and the good-not-great candy has made it back into the community bowl. I even took a walk today and found about half-a-dozen pieces of random candy along the sidewalks–truly an embarrassment of riches.

The girls had fun trick-or-treating. Each of them were part of their own mob of friends, and they seemed to have just as much fun hanging out and trading candy as they’d had getting dressed up. One comical part, I thought, is that the parenting attitudes about Halloween safety are so vastly different. My fifth-grader, J, started with some late-afternoon trick-or-treating with her neighborhood friends, but she peeled off from the group when they started to get too far because she was going to be heading to a friend’s house later. It still wasn’t quite dark, and I let her freely roam and bike, so when she told me her plan I was all, “Sure, sure, whatever.” Later, I drove her to the friend’s house even though it was only a few blocks because I knew we’d be tired by the end of the night. At some point I noticed that one of my neighbors had alerted me that J was venturing out alone, along with her approximate whereabouts. So I sent a “thanks” reply almost two full hours later, and I think that the other mom was appalled at my laxity. But, dude, I’d seen my daughter since then. I just hadn’t seen the text. For the rest of the evening, the parents chatted and drank wine while the fifth graders made occasional check-ins, reporting their next proposed route and approximate eta. One of us would throw mittens at one of them and we’d all call “Have fun!” and then re-focus on the chips and dip. But meanwhile, my eighth-grader, M, was with a bunch of her almost-high-school friends, and they were accompanied by multiple grown-ups for the entire time that they were out trick-or-treating. For the life of me I just can’t relate to parents who would rather stick to their eighth-graders than stay in the warm house drinking wine, but I guess that’s why I’m not the best mom ever.

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