Halloween 2015

I'm a really sensitive person, which is why I should never read the comments on articles. Especially articles about couples without children. Because invariably there's someone who wants to talk about how marriage was made for having children and how children (in large herds, preferably) are a blessing from God. I guess that's the only way God can bless you--screw me, I'm cursed!

I began my marriage childless-not-by-choice and have ended up, after 11 years blissfully wed, childless-by-choice. And I'm not cursed, unless you count the severe depression that would've made me a terrible mother. I don't even consider that a curse, really--it's just a thing I have to deal with. Now that I'm out of the Church of Fecundity, I'm starting to see what God really expects of me. There are two psalms (that drive me mad whenever they come up) about how having lots of kids is great ... and serving the marginalized appears in the Psalter about a billion more times than that. And if that means turning on slightly scary music, sitting on the front porch, and giving children a pair of fun-sized Butterfingers each, then we're your couple!

I loved Halloween this year. We've lived in our house five years and only done it twice. The first time, we had a pumpkin carving party for all the single adults at church, and whoever was nearest the door handed out candy when the doorbell rang. This year it was just us because I'd grown tired of being the neighborhood recluse. I put on my shirt with an MRI of a brain on it (which was covered up all night by my cardigan because it was cold), freaked out when kids showed up while it was still light out, and actually managed to do things occasionally without the help of my husband. He was there--I love his company--but I didn't need him to do everything for me.

I actually think the cutest kids were the ones I dealt with alone. First to show up was a family of four with one extremely excited little girl, who kept telling me that, "WE CAME FROM ALL THE WAY DOWN THERE!" while pointing down the block. (We live on a long street.) No costumes, but we don't live in the ritziest part of town, so it surprised me more when kids showed up in costume than when they showed up without. A lone girl came after that with no costume but with a sparkly candy bag, and she was so sweet. Later on, after dark, Chris was wrestling with a frozen pizza while I sat on our welcome bench, and a family of five rolled up: one I don't remember, 2 Elsas, 1 Anna, and at the end, helped by the smallest Elsa, a Spider Man who couldn't have been more than 2 years old. I remember saying, "Oh, Spider Man!" sympathetically because he was clearly shy and I understood that feeling. I wish I'd commented on the old school coolness of the kid who dressed up as Chucky, but I failed to. We had our fair share of teenagers. One group came using backpacks to hold their candy (whatever), but one in that group didn't even have that: He held out his hands like he was receiving communion from me. "Receive these Butterfingers ..."

We were surprised when it all wrapped up around 8:30 and we still had candy. So the next day, we went to church and cried over the All Saints Day readings, and then before heading to brunch we left the rest of the candy (well, we held back just a few for ourselves) on the neighbor's doorknob. And that was Halloween. And I loved it. And I want to do more to make our neighborhood a community.

Next year, Instax pictures (these kids have probably never seen instant film before) and the option of a musical instrument instead of candy. This is mostly for kids with allergies, but secretly I hope to have sheer cacophony going up and down the street and some annoyed parents. ;)