I’m pretty sure time stands still on October 31st.
Every Halloween, all of our lives, frozen still in amber. Here we are as little children, grinning behind the old plastic masks – cowboys and Indians, back in the day. Casper and Sylvester the cat. We lit jack-o-lanterns with tapered candles that our mom had cut into halves, sticky caramel on our fingers, cold wind in our hair. Running, always running, through the crimson blitz of autumn, gold leaves spinning in a smoky twilight sky.
November as far away as tomorrow.
My daughter was a week old on her first Halloween. She wore a teensy black cat costume, and I took her trick-or-treating in her stroller, winding full-speed through our trailer court with maple spinners crunching beneath my tennis shoes. Already smiling, already caught up in the enchantment. The child she was – the child I was – they are still here, suspended in perfect bursts of autumn color.
Three gorgeous kids, years and years of costumes and cookies and scavenger hunts. Bonfires, buckeyes and bob-for-apples. Every year, a year older. Every year, still magic. We did Build-A-Monster, cemetery walks, the town parade - and always, always, the air was crisp as a new apple, the moon a sharp crescent in a broad and purple sky. Dizzy with laughter, drunk on excitement, we zoomed from house to house and never seemed to touch the ground.
Another year – pumpkins already on the porch, lights strung through the bushes, Jack Skellington climbing the hill again, bony silhouette against the fat yellow moon. Children grown and new steps going up to the cemetery. Endless busy days – work and college and meetings; and nothing has changed at all. Not on Halloween.
On Halloween, the world stops spinning while the moon comes up and the ghouls come out and the jack-o-lanterns leer from the shadows. We hold our breaths while the magic, the never-ever-failing Halloween magic, fills the air and fills us all. For an instant, we are grinning kids again behind our silly adult masks.
And so, my friends, the biggest, the bestest holiday of all is soon upon us. Wishing you all a wonderful, fantastical, beautiful night.
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