A few days before Halloween my husband looked into the massive bowl of candy and said “you did not buy enough.” “You don’t think that’s enough,” I asked, “It’s ten bags of candy!”
I really didn’t want to run to the store to buy more, but I had a sinking feeling he was right. A few years ago we greeted a few dozen trick-or-treaters on Halloween night, but things have changed recently and children are now arriving in droves.
Our tiny upscale neighborhood is surrounded by lower income housing. New high rises have altered the landscape and multi-generational housing is the norm in neighboring communities.
In the past children would walk door-to-door, but now they hop out of cars that line up on our street. It is clear they are driving in from somewhere else. To accommodate the increase our little bowl of candy grows larger and larger each year.
My son enjoys Halloween more than any other holiday. Forget his birthday or Christmas or any other occasion; Halloween is his absolute favorite time of the year. Every year we create a count down chain on October 1st with thirty-one links. He removes one every day and gets downright giddy as we approach the final week before Halloween.
When my son was two and three he enjoyed giving out candy even more than he enjoyed receiving it. In fact, last year we only walked to two or three houses before he asked to return home to hand out more candy.
This year he wanted to go trick-or-treating but he was also just as excited to answer the door. Whenever he heard a knock he went running to the front of the house. He even lined up the candy so he could quickly dole it out when children came.
He answered the door for an hour or so and then my husband and I took him out to collect candy. We walked down one street and back up another before he told us he was too tired to continue.
My mom gave out candy in our absence and when we returned there were only a few pieces left in the bowl. My son planted himself in the front entrance and waited. Within a few minutes we had only one piece of candy left so I turned off the light above our front door.
When a group of children knocked on the door he started to cry. “Mama I want to give them candy,” he said. I calmly explained that we were out of candy and that we didn’t have anything left to give the trick-or-treaters. “But I have candy,” he said.
I asked if he was referring to the candy in his bucket. The candy he collected walking door-to-door. “Yes,” he said with tears in his eyes. “I want to give them MY candy.” I handed over his bucket and watched him dig inside it. Within seconds he was handing over HIS candy to a group of four girls.
The oldest girl in the group asked “Is this your candy?” and when my son nodded she dug into her own bag and pulled out the biggest candy bar she could find. As he was handing her a piece of candy she secretly slid that candy bar into his bucket. She recognized his generosity and wanted to return the favor. The two other girls she was with reached into their bags and did the same. Each picked out a piece of candy he might enjoy.
When we stepped back inside I set those pieces of candy aside. My son returned to his spot inside the front door and patiently waited for more trick-or-treaters to arrive. He held proudly onto that bucket and gave away all but one piece of candy he collected that evening. (He set aside one piece for me and kept a lollipop for himself.)
It’s one of those moments I wish I could have captured on video. There was my son, a little four year old boy so excited about Halloween and so excited to make the other children happy.