Halloween busy on Pikes Peak Avenue

By Sandra Knauf

       Our two previous Westside residences were slow on All Hallow's Eve. Maybe a dozen super heroes and princesses' tops. Then we moved to Pikes Peak Avenue a decade ago.
       One year I tallied the goblins on a paper taped to our front door molding. One-hundred-and-thirty-four. About the same as the year before. My husband, Andy, takes our two daughters trick-or-treating, and I man the plastic cauldron o' candy. I cannot watch a spooky movie, or do the dishes, because every couple of minutes the doorbell rings and the dog barks...
       "TRICK OR TREAT!"
       Through the years I've seen them all, from babes-in-arms in fleecy puppy dog sleepers who can't yet walk or talk to the big kids who are too cool to dress up but not too cool to accept free candy. Ghosts, clowns, genies, witches, cowboys, rock stars, werewolves and whatever new movie characters are out that year from Disney. I see their parents; some dress up with the kids, and some stay in the shadows, reminding their offspring: "Say thank you."
       The children are usually polite; most choose one mini candy bar from the caldron "Yay, Reese's!" Some boldly ask if they may have two. Always one gets grabby and takes a handful, and then I don't offer the "choose your own" option for awhile. Our dog, Alice, sometimes sticks her head through the doorway and the kids squeal, "A dalmatian!" It's rewarding to watch their glee, especially on the harsh, cold Halloween nights, over a single piece of candy, over the adventure of it all.
       The very best part, though, is seeing parents and children I haven't seen in months, or even since last Halloween. "Goodness," I always exclaim to our former neighbors' son, "You are getting bigger and more handsome every year!" He always responds with a bashful smile.
       This year he's in seventh grade, 12 years old, the same age as my oldest daughter, Zora. I wonder if he'll go trick or treating - something Zora has been wavering on this year. I hope they both will; that they'll allow themselves at least one more year before they're too grown up.
       I look forward to my girls coming home with their dad, dumping out their loot on the dining room table and, like pirates, sifting their fingers through the booty like it's gold coins and jewels. They'll regale me with tales of creepy neighbors in the Halloween spirit houses with gargoyles and fake tombstones, spider webs, eerie music. My youngest daughter loves to hand out candy at our front door when she gets home. She'll give the little ones a handful, the bigger brothers and sisters only a piece or two - making a statement, I suppose, on her own sibling relationship.
       I'll turn out the porch lights at 8 and extinguish the candles in the carved pumpkins. The girls will finish trading candy. Another Halloween ends. We'll go to bed feeling good about our neighborhood in this crisp, fall season.

Sandra Knauf is a Westside writer and Westside Pioneer sales representative.