We loaded up both our vehicles and headed west to celebrate one more holiday with the family in Ohio. Even though we won’t be moving for at least another month, the winter months get kind of crazy under normal circumstances with the holidays and unpredictable weather and road conditions, so as our international move looms closer, our window of time to do a visit like this gets smaller.
So my sister and I set our sights on Halloween to get all the grandkids together and make some memories. It’s been 20 years since the last time we canvassed the neighborhood together: the first time we headed out as parents ourselves. Halloween was always a big deal at our house. We share memories of homemade costumes, pillowcases full of candy, super late trick-or-treat times, and all kinds of fun.
So as our men stayed warm and cozy at home to pass out candy (and watch college football), we sisters braved the cold to walk the four oldest children around her neighborhood, determined to make it a nice evening for the kiddos.
It was really, really nice. Even though the temperatures dropped and it was gloomy all day, it wasn’t raining by the time kids started filtering out of their homes and into the sidewalks and lawns, racing from house to house to get their loot. The trees in her neighborhood are still full of orange and red leaves, and a lot of her neighbors gathered in groups, handing out candy next to portable fire pits, so the air smelled like firewood and mugs of hot chocolate or coffee wherever we went. Norman Rockwell would have been inspired.
Our kids filled up their buckets quickly. They remained pretty determined and energetic right up until the last block before Jill’s house. At that point, the younger two demanded to be carried while the older two struggled to carry all four overloaded buckets.
Once home again at my sister’s house, we celebrated a good candy collection with the men, Nona, Aunt Jinger, and some of Uncle Greg’s family members. After the traditional candy and costume photos, we ate chili and crackers, cookies, candy, and caramel apples, and spent a few more hours just hanging out and being together.
There will be Halloween and other costumed celebrations overseas. And without a doubt, we’ll be back to visit family, and they’ll visit us.
But I really hope my kids remember this Halloween as particularly sweet.