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My Turn: Terrific Halloween, for kids of all sizes

I gave out more than 250 pieces of candy this Halloween. This is par for the course.

I’ve lived at Island Shores for more than 10 years, beginning when my son was little. When we bought our lovely townhouse, we were new to the state and not sure what to expect of this holiday. We were delighted to learn that our home was a central target for those whose Halloween goal was ringing as many doorbells in as little time as possible. My neighbors made trick-or-treaters feel welcome, decorating their homes in as terrifying and scary a way as possible, given the constraints of plastic tombstones and witches.

We joined in the fun immediately, and I promised that even when my son was grown and gone I would continue the tradition. He is now over 6 feet tall, but no darkened porch light for us.

We take great pride in the amazing politeness of the children who, to a one, remember to say “thank you” after taking a candy from the bowl, one candy from a bowl of many. Amazing restraint. The costumes are extraordinary and demonstrate loving care and effort to help the kids feel adequately entitled to participate in this important childhood ritual.

I am also taken by the excellent parenting of the distantly hovering moms, dads and grandparents – gently supervising and overseeing, beacons of safety in a night of imaginary terror.

When I was 12, I was about 5-foot-9, but I still loved Halloween. I remember trick-or-treating with a friend and having a ball until we rang the bell of a person who told me that I was too old or big to trick-or-treat. He slammed the door in my face. So, every year, in an effort to alleviate this lingering scar, I buy several boxes of full-sized candy bars and set them aside for kids who are “too big” for Halloween. They are thrilled to get them and to know that they are supported in their belief that they are still entitled to be kids – to get excited over candy and pretending and dressing up and gorging on chocolate. Happy Halloween!

(Diane O’Callaghan lives in Penacook.)

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