Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Halloween In Utopia

Now I feel sort of sad, really. Or perhaps my hindsight is clouded? I remember Halloween as something for kids: Kids in costumes, kids who couldn't drive, with no set end hour for trick-or-treating. Basically, people turned their porch light out when they either ran out of candy or got tired of the whole thing.

Reading Teri, Rozanne, and others, it seems things have changed from this rose-colored memory, at least in larger, less bucolic places.

Disclaimer: This is almost certainly about to get sappy.

I think things really are different in our little time-warp of a tiny Wisconsin village.

Charles and I raced home from work, cramming sandwiches in our mouths on the drive, arriving home a bit before 6 pm. By 6:15, we were screaming down the hill to the village proper in el minivan, literally, as I recall. At least Sara was, partly in excitement and partly in ire, as she had dropped her stuffed animal on the floor. She is incapable of getting in the car without a stuffed animal and a blanket these days. We let her, as it is a little thing and keeps the peace.

We get to the village, 2 miles away, finding our friend, A, waiting for us on the corner. We had made plans to go pillage with her, her husband, M, and their 4-year-old daughter, K. While waiting for us, M and K went to a few houses to get K's feet wet, so to speak. Actually, that was probably a bit literal, too, as K was dressed in the most freakin' cute Tinkerbell costume ever, complete with gossamer wings and little green sparkly sack-booties on her feet. A tells us that she refused to wear shoes under the booties, so she was running around in her tights and sack-shoes. This is an indication of the state of cleanliness of this town, either that or the state of mind of the mother of a 4-year-old, the mother who has been worn down and no longer can protest.

So, off the 5 of us go, following the path M and K have taken, stopping at houses along the way. Colin, the Red Power Ranger, veteran of one prior trick-or-treat that he is, takes the lead. Sara hanging on to my hand, but willing in her spider costume. After the first house, Sara leaps into the fray, as fast as her short legs can take her. Colin urges her to "Come on!" She falls multiple times in her heedless haste to score more loot and doesn't feel a thing. She is also bundled in sturdy layers of clothes under her spidey outer covering.

We meet up with M and K. M is clearly a professional and wends us through the leaf-choked streets to lit houses with the skill of a true hunter. Not a step is wasted. Sadly, time is against us. Trick-or-treat is only from 5-7 pm and we have missed most of it. Also, the crush of kids ahead of us have emptied the coffers of many houses. It is due to the skill of M that we get to about 20 houses in our allotted remaining 45 minutes, covering about 10 blocks.

Still, they really do get plenty of candy, at least in my opinion, for a 6 and nearly-3 year-old. Of the other people we see, most are kids, well costumed, under the age of 14. All are very polite. One kid didn't have a costume, but his buddies did. Adults mostly accompanied the kids, several of whom also wore costumes. None of whom carried bags for themselves.

One guy, handing out candy from a decorated front porch, laughed and said that we parents looked like we could use a beer. We agreed that he was absolutely correct. We also agreed, to ourselves, that Wisconsin is truly the state that understands us best.

We saw no signs of vandalism, not even a kicked pumpkin. Most of the houses were decorated in some way, several very lavishly. The houses are fairly close together, so driving the kids around really doesn't make sense. The people handing out candy seemed genuinely tickled to be doing so. Granted, we were there at the tail-end, but last year, when we got there at the start, it was the same.

I guess I just wanted to let you know that there are places where "movie set" Halloween happens. We are incredibly fortunate to live in such a place. I wish everyone did.



Blogger listmaker said...

It sounds wonderful. I loved going out with my kids when they were little and our little village was much the same as you describe. Now we see fewer and fewer kids in costume and many just grab the candy and run. It's sad; I guess that's why I just didn't have the heart to participate this year.

11:38 AM  
Blogger Teri said...

hat sounds absolutely idyllic. Halloween as my heart wants it to be.
big-city trick-or-treating is for the dogs. We could make an exodous to the suburbs every year, I suppose. Others do it. But so many others do it the surburds are taking on the character of treat or treat in our neighborhood. Sigh. I envy you.

12:16 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Listmaker- Hi! I recognize you from Teri's. It really is sad, isn't it? I'm sure it will change here, too, I just hope it isn't for a while.

Teri- It really was almost freaky.
Too perfect. Even the night, clear, around 50 degrees, no wind, lots of leaves. You couldn't have scripted it better.

1:14 PM  
Anonymous Gerah said...

I live in that neighborhood. Our neighborhood is FANTASTIC for halloween.

And I too, have a daughter that can't get into the car without her doll and blanket.

1:25 PM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

Wow. That reminds me of what it was like for me going trick or treating. It was a blast. I think the last year was when I was 15 or 16 but we all dressed up.

For me, it's not so much the candy but the fun of dressing up.

I want pictures!

3:02 PM  
Blogger brooksba said...

Sounds wonderful. The last time I went Trick-or-Treating for myself was when I was 13. And we got three feet of snow that night. I took it as a sign to stop.

I'm glad there are places left that are idyllic for Halloween. It's nice to hear.

4:23 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Gerah- Sigh. Isn't it great? You may find you have to come back and make the rounds when you move. Glad Sara isn't the only one in the blanket and friend club. It does make it a bit challenging getting the car seat all buckled.

Dana- I would have continued into high school, but my friends weren't into it. We would to this guy's yearly Halloween party for the cross country team. Good dorky fun. I will send you pictures as well.

Beth- 3. Feet. Of. Snow. Wow. My little West Coast transplanted soul blinks. That would have been quite disappointing, even for a snow freak, like me.

6:51 PM  
Blogger Cagey said...

In my cookie-cutter suburbia, I actually did get the bucolic. LInes of kids, all fairly polite with parents in the background reminding them to say thank-you if they forgot. Even the teenagers weren't too surly.

The one difference? the amount of kids - I was surprised we didn't get more. I am now left with nearly 2 lbs of Skittles!

12:48 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Cagey- How great that Arun will get to trick-or-treat there. I have a weak spot for Skittles. OK, I have a weak spot for most candy.

6:12 PM  
Blogger Teri said...

You know the Dead Kennedys song "Holiday in Cambodia?" Well, every time I see the title of this post I start singing "Halloween in Utopia" to the tune of "Holiday in Cambodia." And then I'm singing it for hours. Not even infectious songs that would normally push all else out of my head can overcome this one...

6:30 PM  
Blogger beckyb said...

My theory on why we make such a big deal out of Halloween in WI is because we know the snow is a comin' and it's our last hurray to be out and about in the streets with our friends and neighbors, lol. After that, sure, we'll see the kids out sledding and ice skating but the wise parents are snuggled warm and cozy in their homes for the next 4-5 months. Glad you all had a good time!

11:26 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Teri- Heh, heh, heh. Evil. Not even "It's a Small World" will drive it away?

Beckyb- I think you have hit it on the head. I'm starting to "cave up" already.

10:10 AM  

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