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Location: Midwest, United States

Monday, October 31, 2005


I really enjoyed Halloween this year. I went out and bought bags and bags of candy. I had no idea how many children would visit, and I wanted to be prepared.

It was the perfect Halloween evening. A grey, damp, gloomy lights glowing in warm amber tones...children’s shrieks and laughter echoing in the dark. Perfect.

Children amaze and amuse me. All evening long, I answered the door with a huge bowl of candy. I told everyone: “Take as much as you want.”

The littlest ones were the most endearing. They would invariably take only one piece of candy and then turn in a rush, breathlessly crying out “Thank you!” Modesty, innocence and beauty made visible in the form of animated, three-foot sprites...I was utterly charmed.

A young boy reached in and took two candy bars. He paused. “My sister is allergic to these.” I asked about her allergy, and pointed out that he has quite a few choices in the non-peanut genus of Halloween treats. His face lit up. I told him to take a handful for his sister. He looked me in the eye when he said “Thank you.” The youngest children were, most definitely, the best. I love their shyness and their innocence. Throw in a bit of courtesy and good manners, and I turn to complete mush.

As the night deepened, the older children began making their rounds. These children were different. Their costumes fell more into the “slasher” genre in contrast to the princesses and angels and elves I had greeted earlier. Most grabbed for as much candy as they could scoop up. Many ran off without saying thank you. I find that a bit strange, don’t you? When do we lose our innocence, our piety? Only a few short years separate the modest sprites from the aggressive “mini-adults.” What happened? Why this loss of innocence? When do we begin to think that more is always better? It seems to me that most children rush to become adults. Pity. I wish I could be a child again.

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