The sun has barely set and the doorbell is already ringing. Our first group of trick-or-treaters includes one of my daughter's preschool friends, and as we open the door, I hear a joyful cheer from his mom: "It's Olivia's house!" We dole out the stickers, plastic spiders, and candy bars generously, not thinking for a minute that we should meter them out, save more for later. Our cup overflows.
"Trick or treat!" we call as they wave goodbye, all smiles -- even the child dressed as black death.
Before we can get out the door in our own costumes, the bell rings again. This time, the children are unknown to us but the costumes are adorned satin and sparkles. Not that Olivia is seeing the children because, behind them, stands the vision of her adoration: Captain America. As the group turns to leave, she calls out in her fluttering, 4 year old voice, "Wait, Captain America! I have candy for you, too." She holds the Whoppers outstretched in her little hand, as the man in heroic red, white, and blue steps forward and stutters, "Thank you so much. Thank you." Her ebullient flattery has humbled him.
We snap a few photos, wrap Olivia in her warm red cape, and set out, her small hand cupped in my black glove, ready for the chilly October night. The laughter and lights, fake spiders and real bonfires beckon to us. The street is alive, breathing creativity and character.
Olivia inhales deeply as we walk down the steps. "What is that smell?" she asks, and before I can answer (fall? wood?) she answers her own question, enthusiastically: "Halloween candy!"
The night is filled with wonder.