On Friday, Bernie took me for a drive through downtown Little Falls where merchants were opening their doors for trick-or-treaters. The costumes were creative. The little ones were adorable. Families were excited and wholeheartedly engaged. I especially noted the toddlers bundled up as animals or characters whom they had not one iota about. For babies and toddlers, costumes are just clothes like any other day. This day may feel a little like the first snow-suit day when they are bundled with bulky clothes that hinder their movement a bit. I’ve attended this event for the last several years each year with one grandchild a toddler. This year the youngest is six, so there are no more family members to attend the event totally innocent of what is happening.

The neatest moment, I recall, is after the first stop at local business, when the child is instructed to hold their little bag before them and say, “Trick or Treat.” In the confusion and strangeness of the situation, my grandchildren, first Charlie, then Ana, then Jack, bulked at the idea. They were reluctant to do this pointless gesture. Then, that first merchant smiled and dropped candy into the bag and suddenly the child lit up. Digging in the bag to get that candy was now the mission. Never mind going for more. Toddlers live in the moment. But they are prodded by other family members who are in-the-know to move alongto the next business and the miracle happens again. More candy! Suddenly the strangeness of the event ceases to matter.

It has been a delight to see the grandchildren, nieces and nephews and families of friends share their halloween costumes on Facebook. It seems the enjoyment of this holiday never wanes over the years. I have been taken aback by some of the more violent constumes. I don’t recall feeling this way about ghosts and skeletins, the worst of the scaries when I as a kid. These were not human beings with their flesh all torn and bleeding and hatchets or swords embedded in their heads. I guess these are zombies but they look human to me. I suppose I have lived too long and seen too much. Some of this looks like things I have seen in movies and in the news.

Today, I will hold in my memory the toddler in a bunny costume, the wobbler with the caramel juice trickling down his chin, digging in his bag for more of the same.