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  • Writer's pictureKelly Marks


The leaves are beginning to change, and the mornings are much cooler so this week I went into the dark reaches of the attic and pulled out a box marked Fall and Halloween. It was time to put out something spooky.

Various friends have been sending me pictures of autumnal vignettes at their house. Some are pictures of mums and pumpkins; some are skulls full of candy corn.

I love Halloween. Always have. I don’t love it the way a friend of mine does who goes to haunted houses and watches slasher movies. I love carving pumpkins, doing corn mazes, decorating, dressing up, and candy. I enjoy eating candy more than giving it out, but it’s still a big part of it.

When Paul and I sold our first house, the closing was on October 31. We arrived at the lawyers offices both of us in full Cat-in-the-Hat costumes complete with the stovetop hats and whiskers drawn on. The executive assistants and the paralegals were so excited they pulled out cameras (in the age before cell phones) and snapped our photos all over the place.

When Madi was little, I would always dress up and go trick-or-treating with her. One year I was a witch, and she was my little black cat. One year she was a pig, and I was the farmer, and another year she was a bumblebee, and I was the beekeeper. A couple of years it was raining very hard, but we put on clear rain ponchos and went anyway.

I remember one of the first years we went. In our neighborhood each house has at least 1 acre of land so there’s a lot of walking to be done to reach each house. We were close to the end of the street, having done the left side of the road. We were in the cul-de-sac and were preparing to hit the houses on the right side when itty-bitty Madi said she was tired and asked if we could go home.

I squatted down to eye-level with her and told her no we could not. We had not even done one full street, and I may have mentioned that she was a disgrace to trick-or-treaters everywhere. Probably not my finest moment, but probably not my worst either.

I think my heart broke the first year Madison wanted to go out with her friends instead of me. I know it’s the way it should be, and I convinced myself that it was all a lot of effort, and I had earned the respite.

Because we have never had more than a couple of trick-or-treaters come to our house, I used it as an excuse to slack off, and not decorate. I lost my enthusiasm for Halloween.

This year, encouraged by my friends and their pictures, I’m not only decorating, but I’m going to leave the lights on in case we get any doorbell rings.

Of course, if I buy the candy ahead of time, it will all be gone by Halloween night. It will have to be purchased last minute, or I will have to leave the lights off again.

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Oct 15, 2023

I love the picture!

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