I can recall October 31, 1992, quite vividly. My daughter, Paris, was five, our son, Jordan, was three, and my baby, Capri, was only five months old. While Paris knew all about costumes and free candy, my husband, Frank, and I made sure she also knew why our family didn't celebrate Halloween.
Earlier that month, we'd politely informed Paris's kindergarten teacher she wouldn't be participating in any songs or activities that involved jack-o-lanterns, witches, black cats, or goblins. And we'd reassured Paris she could get candy from us any day of the year. Nonetheless, not wanting to seem unfriendly to our neighbors, I readied bags of candy to pass out to the other children who populated our tree-lined street.
At 4:30 P.M., our first flock of visitors arrived: Snow White, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, Yogi Bear with Boo Boo (brothers in real life), a ballerina, and a sailor. They looked so cute! Then, just before dark, the doorbell rang five times—obviously an impatient trick-or-treater. There at my open door stood a herd of about a dozen eager children, cautiously watched from the street by moms I'd met at PTA meetings. As my two children distributed the candy, I cradled the baby and stepped past the crowded doorway and onto the stoop.
"Hi, Ellie!" shouted Debbie, the PTA president. "We haven't seen you at any meetings recently. We're starting to plan for the spring fair. Let me know which booth you'd like to man. I recall you have some talent!"1