The Two Halloweens

October 31, 2011

Before I moved to the Napa Valley, I lived in Sausalito where the residential area below the hills is fairly concentrated within a few short, dimly lit, streets.  So Halloween was early, brief and busy, with lots of costumed children (of all ages) ringing my doorbell.  But since I moved to St. Helena, where I live on the west side of town, I’ve seen far fewer trick-or-treaters.  As one of them explained to me last year, looking disappointed by the caliber of my “fun size” treats, a would-be candy giver really has to advertise by putting up lights and pumpkins and other embellishments to let discriminating treat seekers know that the establishment is open for business.  I swear, I cannot get away from running a retail business no matter where I go.  Anyway, I’ve always noticed that Halloween in St. Helena runs in shifts.  The first shift starts at dusk and looks like a low-key version of my old neighborhood, with a number of happy, well-costumed young kids together with their responsible, flashlight-bearing, coordinated-costumed parents, laughing and photo-snapping, and romping up the streets circled by an antique truck offering hayrides.  The supervised little ones are followed closely by their unsupervised older siblings, some just on the verge of being too old for trick-or-treating, many of them apparently hopped up on Milk Duds and possibly more illicit treats, yet generally fun and harmless.  But then a bit later, just as I’ve started to take in the pumpkins and blow out the candles, comes the late shift.  It never fails that there are a few young children who come out long after the early shift has retired, later in the evening, well after dark, and often with Hispanic parents.  When I’ve asked why, I’ve learned that both parents worked late and this was the earliest they could take their kids out on Halloween.  So now I listen for them, keeping the lights on a little later than I would normally do, making sure that the children of these hardworking parents know that this Halloween house is open for all.


One Response to “The Two Halloweens”

  1. Pat Dell Says:

    Laura, That is really great that you wait for the kids whose parents can’t get off work to bring them any earlier. I really miss the trick or treaters since moving here and living in a semi secured retirement community. I used to love seeing them. Pat

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