As October drew to an 80-degree close and goblins geared up for carnivals and candy, my crew spent a festive Halloween afternoon at our church carnival.  Surrounded by children and adults in full costume they ate, played, and ran themselves silly for two solid hours. 

The carnival was organized and held by my ladies’ circle so I stayed an extra hour to help clean up and put away all the games and leftover cupcakes.  Having chosen exactly the wrong shoes to wear to the carnival, my feet were killing me by the time I got home.  I kicked them off by the kitchen counter and tried to decide what to make for dinner.  (The handy-dandy menu that I keep has yet to be printed due to low ink in the printer so I had no clue what I was supposed to have prepared.)

While I rested my brain and leaned against the counter for the briefest moment, I asked the kids how they enjoyed the carnival.  Aaron answered me with utmost enthusiasm.  “It was awesome, Mommy!  This is the best Halloween ever!  And I can’t wait to go Trick-or-Treating next!!”

Excuse me?

“Trick-or-Treating?????  Really??? I kind of thought that since we were going to the carnival at church it would sort of take the place of Trick-or-Treating.”

The look on his face told me that I might as well have just told Linus there was no Great Pumpkin. 

“But, Mommy, Trick-or-Treating is the entire Halloween experience!”

He makes an excellent point, you know.

Twenty minutes later I had donned my tennys and we were headed out the door, one witch and one Indian in tow, to see if our neighbors celebrated Halloween at all.  Despite the fact that only about 12 houses were open to Trick-or-Treaters in a two-block span, we had fun watching our costumed kids venture up the yards of relative strangers, knock on the door, and wait patiently for some kind soul to answer. 

One such yard had a homemade sign in the flowerbed that demanded, “BE GONE!!”  Aaron was not so sure this house was accepting Trick-or-Treaters, but I assured him that by the looks of all the other Halloween decorations in the yard and the porch light “on,” that these certainly were Halloween-loving people who would welcome two munchkins at their door.  Aaron must have mentioned the sign to the sweet lady who answered, because she curiously stepped further onto her porch to view the sign.  She plucked it out of the ground and tossed it into the bushes, while laughing and yelling across the yard to me and Dom, “My 12-year old must have done this!  I’ll never get Trick-or-Treaters with a sign like that!”

I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed following my kids down the streets, watching Victoria’s little red shoes routinely peek out from under her witch’s cape and Aaron’s headband feather bounce around in the dusk.  By the time we made our way back to our house, Victoria was complaining that her feet now hurt, but Aaron wore a satisfied smile all the way through bedtime.

As I tucked the kids into bed and turned out their lights it occurred to me: Wow.  This really was the best Halloween ever.