All Hallow’s Eve. The sun’s down, and now it’s dark, closing the day on fun parties, and drawing down the night of costumes and trick or treaters.
It was a great day at school, despite the anticipation of much candy tonight. The kids were good all day, but as it got closer to the time of our class party, they were getting restless. They were not paying any attention at all to Social Studies, where we were reading about the Roman Empire. (I feel a pop quiz coming on tomorrow …) They were good, though, during the party. It was just eating sweets and socializing, but I told them they had to clean everything up nicely if they wanted any more parties this year. So, no frosting was ground into the carpet from the cupcakes that were served, no spillage of drinks occurred, and everyone was polite; well, okay, almost everyone. And one of my darlings was kind enough to sacrifice a Kit Kat candy bar when he saw that I didn’t get one. He can be difficult, but you know what? He can also be fiercely loyal, and is smart enough to see all the little things that I and other adults in my room do for him. I think the thing he appreciates the most is that I listen.
After school/work, I first went to the gym, then when I neared home and turned into our neighborhood, I thought I’d do a “victory lap” around the oval street where we live to see if kids were out yet, and look at Halloween decorations if there were any. It was just twilight, and as I’d suspected, it was a little early for trick or treating. However, when I turned at the end of the oval diagonal to our house, I had to stop for a llama in the middle of the road who was just standing there looking puzzled, a broken tether attached to his halter. Yes, a llama.
We live in a neighborhood where almost every animal is allowed because we all have at least an acre. There are supposed to be limitations on animals, but they are loosely enforced, much to everyone’s relief. One night several years ago I came home and found a giant pig on my front lawn. It ambled away on its own after a while.
Anyway, I sat in my car since the llama was blocking the road and thought, well, I can’t just leave him there! So, I got out of my car. He was by now walking slowly toward me, but when I got out of the car, he shied away from me; fortunately, he jumped toward where he lives. Another llama was lying down in the yard, munching grass and watching the festivities. I was going to try to get hold of the rope, but the llama in the street kept moving away from me. Then, the man who owns the llamas came out of the house, saw what was going on, and we both “herded” the errant llama toward the driveway where the man grabbed the rope. He thanked me, and I went back to my car thinking only in this neighborhood! That’s why I like living here.
During the half-mile drive back to my house, I saw one of our neighbors, the neighborhood agitator (who really is nice, but not if you have a messy yard) walking her miniscule terrier on a very long leash. I laughed to myself at the appropriateness of her Halloween “costume,” which was one of those headband things with giant red sequined devil’s horns on top of it. I know some who would say that it fit!
When I reached the road that bisects the oval, at the corner, deep in the shadows sat a big cat. He was a big golden cat with white fur on his chest that looked like a white shirt front. He sat surveying the scene, and as clearly as if I’d seen a cartoon bubble above his head, I knew he was thinking about it being Halloween and planning what mischief he was going to get up to as the night went on. I swear he winked at me when I drove by.
I finally turned into my driveway, and saw the kids that live across the street out on their front yard, costumes on, ready to get going on their Halloween rounds. Their house has been decorated since the first of October. I just got my lights put up last Saturday, and I only put up a few. I don’t know why I don’t get decorations up sooner, if I did I’d be able to enjoy the season longer. I stationed myself near the door to receive trick or treaters and pass out candy (more Kit Kats! but I saved some for me to eat later!). The best outfit was a little girl in a peacock costume, resplendent with a sequined emerald green mask, the costume complete with a giant tail. It was really quite beautiful, all royal blue, emerald green, black, and gold. I would have loved a costume like that when I was a kid. I grew up at a time when a costume was a white sheet with eye holes cut out of it.
First came the parents with little kids, hesitant to reach in and take some candy. Then, the “tweens,” some with parents, came along, a little bolder about getting more than one piece of candy, and later, the young teenagers who didn’t mind helping themselves to a handful of candy. Better them than us, I thought. I don’t need to eat any more sweets today.
It’s late night now. In the distance, dogs are barking out there in the far reaches of the neighborhood as the darkness becomes still and complete. The kids are either at home stuffing candy into their mouths, or they are small enough to be exhausted and in bed. I am sure they are dreaming of witches and goblins, pumpkins and candy, candy, and more candy.
And Mephistopheles, the cat with the white shirt front, is sitting out there somewhere, his mischief planned and done, his eyes glinting in the scant moonlight, licking his lips and feeling very satisfied indeed.