I have always adored Halloween. Free candy aside, growing up, I loved how the holiday transformed my street; it had the potential to make even the most familiar house feel extraordinary, depending on the cleverness of its decorations and, of course, the quality of its candy.
Of all the neighborhood’s prize-worthy porches, I remember Mrs. Woodyard’s the best. A widow who lived across the street, Mrs. Woodyard had fuzzy, gray hair, liver spots and seemingly, a different floral house coat for every day of the week. She never decorated for Halloween, but she kept her porch light on — a universal invitation for trick-or-treaters to knock.
So my sister and I knocked. And every year, Mrs. Woodyard answered with a surprised look. After determining who we “belonged to,” she would insist we step inside. Then, she would make us stand in her sweetly sour-smelling foyer while she shuffled down the shadowy hallway, promising over her shoulder to find us treats.
Every year, she returned with two apples — about which my sister and I endlessly grumbled. It was tradition, perhaps even more than costumes and candy-binges. As disappointing as we found the fruit, looking back, Ms. Woodyard’s home is the only one I remember from all those childhood trick-or-treats.
How will you shape the Halloween memories of the children on your block this Tuesday night?