Hometown Halloween

In Community by Laura CrossleyLeave a Comment

This year, we decided to keep our Halloween plans super simple. Last year, we took a 5-hour drive around the region to visit every single grandparent in our costumes. It was incredible to get to see them all and trick-or-treat the way I remember doing as a kid – but my grandparents used to live about 10 minutes away from each other and this half-day of travel was way too much car seat time for the little dude.

So, instead, we split the festivities into a couple of days this year. The kids had ample opportunity to run around with friends and attempt to get in on the trick-or-treating action. We had a much more casual pace to the weekend and genuinely enjoyed the time together.

I would have never been able to tell you that at 34, my kids would be trick-or-treating the Trunk-or-Treat and Halloween party in my hometown. Brooks and Miles, though, were anxious to take Isai along for the fun. So, after visiting Nana’s house and Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa, we drove into Winchester for the festivities.

We walked the few blocks to Main Street from Aunt Kristin’s house. Along the way, we picked up a few handfuls of candy – then quickly continued on. The firetruck in the distance was calling Isai’s name.

Naturally, he B-lined it straight to the huge truck operated by the local volunteer firefighters.

We wandered the street in the chilly evening. The boys popped by the various trunks for candy. Isai, though, was only interested in the cop cars flashing their lights and closing the street at the other end. So we ran to that, too.

Turning back toward my cousin’s house, we played a few street games and chased each other in the street of the modest downtown. In my childhood, there was a grocery store, hair salon, post office and few other shops that dotted these streets. Now, the town touts a diner, auto shop and real estate office where the others used to be. It seems to simultaneously lose the liveliness of a street full of businesses while also gaining the bustle and activity of a street full of residents and community coming together.

There are many days that I’m admittedly bitter that my small town offered so little while growing up. I always wanted to know more about the world, see amazing art, experience life in a city, feel the abundance of energy and the veil of privacy that comes with bigger populations. I still do. But, more and more, I find gratitude for the things we had then and have now that many miss out on. I wanted the community of close neighbors, but missed the space and peace of the countryside. I wanted the culture and education of someplace bigger, but missed the hard work and life lessons from the farm. I wanted the shopping and convenience but missed the local and small businesses.

Our Halloween in my old hometown was perfect – my son sprinted through the street, wandered up to strangers and was wrangled by his cousins without there ever being a minute that I worried for his safety. We walked home down the middle of the road. Cars slowed and waited kindly while we ushered the little legs to the side so they could pass. The kids laughed and giggled while we chatted and strolled.

I think we’ve found the perfect balance here – everything we’ve always wanted.