Big Halloween

Big Halloween

So, how was your Halloween?

Notice that I did not ask how your last six months has been, thus drawing attention to the fact that it’s been that long since I posted here. Let’s just move on, shall we? It’s November, after all!

This November I am finally taking up the NaNoWriMo challenge but, being all about the hack, instead of meeting the 50,000 word count required to win, I will endeavor to write exactly *one* blog post every day for thirty days. Any length. Any topic. Lots of typos. Boom!

You should be relieved that I do not plan on publishing all thirty posts. After all, if you are reading this then you are already aces in my book and deserve better than what I am sure to come up with, especially by day nineteen or so. I will, however, let you in on a few, just to prove I’m not fibbing 🙂

So on the first day of my own personal NaBloWriMo, and I woke up this morning the same way I have every morning for the past many many weeks, with nothing to write.

Zip.

Then I remembered the advice I once received from an experienced blogger and it goes like this: If you’re out of ideas but it’s your day to post, just think of something that bugs the shit out of you and let fly.

The point is that, while you may not change the world with a post like that, chances are you’ll connect with at least a few readers who feel the same way you do, and probably others who think you’re a complete dope who needs to just Stop It Right Now.

Either way, you used your voice, and eyeballs are eyeballs in the world of online writing.

Being the easy going live and let live type (yeah right), I wasn’t sure I could think of anything that’s been on my nerves that much,  but after wracking my brain for, oh, half a sec, inspiration struck:

Last night we had some friends over. The kids wanted to watch some bloody horror flicks and answer the door for the trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood. Fun!

Well, in the span of several hours, a small handful of kids, grownups following behind with flashlights, made their way to our door. A total of roughly 25 pieces of candy were given out, which sucks because now I will be forced- forced I tell you— to eat the entire bowl of the good stuff all by myself.

Damn them!

But here’s the thing- our neighborhood is filled with kids. I see their basketball hoops in the driveways, the little finger-wagging signs stuck in the grass by their parents, telling drivers to slow down, “children at play.”

Oh really?

Where??? I want to ask.

Last night, despite all the hard evidence pointing to actual trick-or-treating aged kids living in our neighborhood, our doorbell was not ringing.

My best guess is that these children are in the back yards, behind locked gates and away from the creepy gaze of… creepy gazers.

Or maybe they are tucked safe and snug at Mathnasium, or  and at one of those robotics places, or and participating in organized sports somewhere.

All I know is that the kids are here, but not “here” here, because apparently here just isn’t where it’s at anymore.

Cut to this morning: I went on Facebook I saw that some of my friends elsewhere in LA had hundreds of costumed cuties parade through last night. Some areas are just better, it turns out, and word has gotten around. It’s not just the sidewalks, or streetlights, or low crime rate, no. These trick-or-treat destinations  have it all– the best decorations, the best candy, the best sure-fire Halloween experience, bar none, people!

Hey, I have been known to take my kids to these super-awesome neighborhoods. I have parked six blocks away and shuffled along with hundreds of other Halloween pilgrims, looking for the “best” night of old school fun, photo ops, and happy childhood memories, damnit.

I’m starting to wonder if, by doing so, I might have unknowingly contributed to my own sweet neighborhood becoming what I can only describe as a kid desert.

My son shoots hoops with his dad in our driveway, and even though he’d love to play a pick up game with a neighbor kid, just like me, he looks around and finds none.

Maybe I’m just jealous.

I want to live in one of those fun neighborhoods where the adults answer the door in Freddy Kruger masks and food trucks park on every corner.

But I also want to see kids dragging the trashcans to the street on Wednesday nights, and bugging me to bankroll their shitty class trips with magazine subscriptions. I don’t just want to slow down for them when I drive, I want to see their faces and know their names.

As I stand on my porch, surrounded by fake spiderwebs and rubber bats, I think about the price we pay for always sending our kids to greener pastures.

If I had it to do all over again, I’d try not to be so quick to curate my kids’ childhoods. I’d shop locally for community, instead of always searching somewhere else for the perfect fit. On Halloween I would send my boys around their regular old neighborhood, to knock on doors- the old lady who planted a tree and waters it every Sunday, the young couple who just moved in and don’t speak much English, and the people with the basketball hoop in the driveway and the scooter on the porch.

It’s not too late.

Next year, I’ll fill another bowl with candy, and try again. I’m not sure, but I think that’s one way you start to grow a neighborhood in a desert.

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