I ADMIT THAT WHEN I LEARNED my young grandchildren were going trick-or-treating, I was concerned. The CDC labeled the door-to-door tradition to be high risk during this global pandemic. Yet, I knew my daughter and her husband would be careful, as I expected others in their suburban Minnesota neighborhood would be. And that’s exactly how Halloween played out.
As I stayed behind to replenish the individually bagged candy and stickers and the glo-sticks arranged on an unattended table on the front porch, the rest—Isabelle as Thomas the Tank Engine, Isaac as a dinosaur, Randy as a divided Minnesota, and the parents as themselves, warmly dressed Minnesotans—set out to gather treats.
I settled on the couch with the newspaper, occasionally hearing voices outside the front door. Then I’d wait a few minutes, until I knew the trick-or-treaters and their parents were gone, before stepping out to restock.
Eventually, the cold, fierce wind drew my family back to the house, where Isaac was more interested in his light-up candy bag than the candy. The kids each got one treat before we left and they transitioned toward bed.
Earlier, Randy and I sat with the kids and frosted and decorated homemade carrot cupcakes I baked the previous day. Isaac, at 22 months, was more interested in slicing the cupcakes with his child-sized knife. Izzy, 4, struggled with the thick frosting (note to self: next time make homemade cream cheese frosting), but managed the sprinkles quite well. When she later ate a cupcake overloaded with black sugar, her tongue turned black and black ringed her mouth. Coal residue from Thomas the Tank Engine, perhaps?
All in all, it was a fun Halloween. The kids were happy. The grandparents were happy to spend time with the grandchildren. And the parents, and the neighborhood, managed Halloween in a safe way, with all treats set outside and social distancing followed.
Randy noted one other difference. Trick-or-treating, without doorbell ringing and interaction, simply did not feel the same. He’s right. But this year, health and safety mattered more than tradition.
© Copyright 2020 Audrey Kletscher Helbling