This is the first year we've celebrated Halloween. Previous years I've had a handful of chocolates to give out for the one or two Trick or Treaters than came by but we've never gone out ourselves because Tricky had no understanding of it.
This year he was so in to it. He loved seeing the spiders and skeletons popping up in the shops and was participating in things for the first time so we ran with it, doing Halloween craft every day, creating decorations for our house. Strongly American influenced? Yes, but it didn't start there and even if it did, so what? We happily take all their other cultural influences, why the big fuss over this? Overly commercial? Definitely. But so is Christmas and I celebrate that despite being a card carrying atheist.
Last night, a group of 15 kids and their parents met at our neighbour's house and together we walked house to house in our street, respecting those who did not wish to be door knocked and not "tricking" them. Some of the houses we visited had one parent home and one walking with us, so that the kids had more places to go.
It was great to chat to our neighbours. We're "wave friends". I don't know all of their names, but we always wave hello when we drive past or if we see each other at the shops. We've had a street Christmas Party before and this was just the same except in place of sausages on a BBQ it was lollies in a bag.
I loved seeing Tricky's confidence grow at each house. It is hard work for him to be around other kids, he gets very nervous, so to see him interacting with a bunch of kids he has never played with before was amazing. He needed some encouraging along the way and a few times he hung back and asked to hold hands again, but then he'd charge off again and walk with the bigger kids.
Watching the bigger kids make sure the little ones all got a treat was brilliant. Yes, it was all about getting lollies but it wasn't at the expense of others not getting them. They'd usher the younger ones forward and if they were too timid to go, they'd hand a treat back for them. And they all had fabulous manners - the little ones didn't even need reminding because they would hear the big kids saying thank you and follow suit. It was amazing to watch.
I'm not scared to walk our neighbourhood. Not even at night. It isn't the best area, but I know crime statistics show it is very unlikely to be attacked by a stranger. I love an area with a thriving community and if Halloween can help bring that sense of community, make people get to know their neighbours and not feel scared to walk around, which it definitely did last night, then I'm all for it.
We'll be doing it again next year.