Truth be told I have never Trick or Treated anywhere else, but there are sometimes when life in a small town seems smaller than others. Sometimes this is good, sometimes it is bad. Tonight it was wonderful.
The town put on its best face to make a cold rainy Halloween a party for its children. Downtown stores opened their doors to masked kiddies. We saw soldiers and cops, the man in the yellow hat, the bride of Frankenstein, a flashlight, and more. We gathered in the Town Hall for crafts and games – where neighbors had made enchanted donuts with vampire teeth and spider cupcakes. Kids played pin the heart on the skeleton, bingo and guess the number of candy corns, while parents chatted, snapped pictures and tried to stay warm. A tractor pulled a wagon full of hay bales offering damp tricksters a hayride to the Haunted Bandstand.
I’m sure it is fun to comb a city’s streets, but I doubt it is ever as heartwarming. Best yet, my whole world fit in that downtown and we were there sharing it together: all three brothers’ families and their kids convened in the Town Hall and back at the house for pizza. I bumped into my best friend when I was 9 years old -- the one who used to come to my house every Monday night when we were young to watch Little House on the Prairie – and her son, who was dressed as Almanzo Wilder. The brother of the boy I loved was handing out candy in a downtown shop and I received a text or two from my nephew the next town over. I missed spending the night with them, but the rain kept me closer to home. Although the pugs stayed at home because of the freezing drizzle, they greeted me, happily settling down once the kids and I were back in the house. We were warm, we were happy, we were together in the big brick house where my parents raised us right in the center of town. And, though the place might be small, this feeling of contentment was big.