Potpourri by Gwen Johnson

Of Halloween and children’s dreams

It’s hard to believe October has come and gone and Christmas will be here in just about seven weeks.  It seems like yesterday it was still summer because although the nights were cool and the days were quite warm, but tearing off the calendar page, November clearly was upon us.

How I love the month of October with all of its amazing autumn colors despite too much rain, too little rain, warm nights, windy days – no matter what the weather the leaves change to those brilliant colors of yellow, gold, orange, red, and bronze for the oak leaves and so on it goes. But the real secret to the change in color is cool nights which keeps the chlorophyll from rising giving the leaves their beautiful lush green.

I also love Halloween in this tiny Town of New Castle.  To me it is not a celebration of evil rather an opportunity for kids everywhere to dress up as something they aspire to be if only in their dreams and dash from door-to-door and neighborhood-to-neighborhood collecting those sweet treats that no one human being could possibly eat up.

On Halloween morning I usually go downtown to Main Street and have breakfast at the local restaurant there and wait for the Craig County Child Care Center kids to come dressed in everything imaginable.  They are mostly infants to 3 or 4 year olds and they are all so adorable.  Some are walking while others are in strollers, wagons, or anything that has wheels.  There are little ones bundled up and tucked in with blankets if it is cold and windy and huge bags of candy that have been collected from every merchant on Main Street and other places around town.

Halloween evening is the time to sit out front and wait for the trick-or-treaters to come.  The Sheriff’s Department has already placed red flares at each end of the block and in the crosswalk just before dark so motorists know to stop and watch for kids crossing.  Traffic piles up, the flares flicker in the wind and the children can be seen emerging from Trunk-or-Treat in the church parking lot with sacks full of goodies, hurrying on to the next stop.

As darkness falls like a cloak, the wind picks up and swirls the leaves, the trick-or-treaters dwindle to one or two stragglers just before our bags are empty.  By then we are giving out more than the normal allotment because we know that what we don’t put in somebody’s bag we will eat ourselves.  The candles in the Jack-o-lanterns flicker low, the flares are reduced to ashes and the kids are gone. We are done with Halloween for another year and with all the splendor of autumn.


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