The kids come wanting candy and I remember what the pastor told the children on Sunday morning.
Do you know how Halloween is like God? He asked.
Blank stares.
This oughtta be good,I thought.
Because, he said, God tells us that all we need to do is come to him and he will give us good gifts. Just like getting candy!
I think about all the children who come by our doors, think about grace wrapped in chocolate. How really it’s so much sweeter.
Teddy has volunteered to hand out the candy this year and his little brother is at a friend’s house and I feel at a loss. We light the jack-o-lanterns and I put Lucy Mae’s costume on her but she soon runs it off. Jeff chops peppers and starts a jambalaya. The kitchen smells good but I can hear laughter outside. There’s nothing for it: as the jambalaya simmers we join Teddy on the porch. We three sit on the steps and watch as princesses and superheroes work their way up and down our street.
I still can’t get over the plain fun of this tradition. All those years of Halloween I never celebrated growing up have helped me let go of all the junk and I just hold on to this: little Sarah from down the street in her long pink ball gown and tiara. She has a matching velvet cape. There’s Connor from one street over pulling a laundry basket with wheels on it—giant stuffed dog inside. Cameron next door is running up ahead and here come those giggling teenagers who are only in it for the candy. There are pink cheeks and bright eyes and glow sticks hanging around necks. The parents troll behind calling absently for meandering children to slow up.
I give each child a word, and some of the grown-ups too. It’s getting cold so I slip inside for a flannel and Lucy, tuck her under my tails and head back out. We watch the dark fold over our little valley and the candy disappears from our bowl. I think about the Halloweens when the boys were little and their grandparents would come over so they could hand out the candy while we walked little legs around these same streets. We always had a sandwich platter and a big pot of chicken noodle soup.
Jambalaya will do fine.
Teddy was a lion that first year he could walk. He was determined to make it on his own. He didn’t even eat the candy. Our neighbors exclaimed over his cuteness and brilliant manners and now he stoops beside me to drop a candy bar into an offered bag. He’s taller than I now and I wear his old jeans around the house and buy him cologne for his birthday. Don’t tell him about the jeans…that would probably creep him out.
We sit together until it gets too cold and the streets are almost empty.
And I know it’s not perfect but there is a lot of grace here.
And it’s sweeter than chocolate.
With Jen today:

And Michelle:


  1. says

    Oh, Laura! This is great! I LOVE it! Would you please consider linking it to Evatt’s Beautiful Mess today? I took a break from my standard Messy Monday, to ask about Halloween! I would love for this to be link with the others!

  2. says

    Never thought of comparing Halloween to God, but there ya go!

    The kids really do look so cute. I loved how thankful and polite they all were this year. “Thank you!” “Happy HAlloween!” Even the older kids.

  3. says

    The little ones are so adorable in their little outfits, I personally don’t like halloween but it can be a time of meeting those in ones neighborhood and perhaps praying for them in the process? lovely post.

  4. says

    I love this image of sitting on the porch, visiting with the neighbors as they make their way. It’s a little cool here by the time Halloween rolls around and sitting outside doesn’t have the same appeal.

    And the jeans? Yeah. I won’t tell if you don’t. I regularly abscond with my eldest’s hand-me-downs. He’s asking for a longer inseam again. Don’t think I’m not eyeing the ones he’ll be casting off… Nothing like Levis all presoftened…

  5. says

    How beautiful! My kids’ preschool shared how Jesus is like a jack-o-lantern–He cleans us from the inside out and shines His light in us. I’m always amazed at the Christian symbolism their preschool can find in any holiday, whether holy or not. But then again, wherever God is, there is holy.

    (And my little boy was a lion for his first Halloween, too. 🙂 )

  6. says

    Love that photo! Seasons sure do move fast. Loved the calm feel of this post despite the way it illustrates that reality. My eldest handed out candy last night for the first time–her sisters were sad she wasn’t going door-to-door with them, but it all worked out. I enjoyed reading the way you embraced this time in your own family and neighborhood.
    (p.s. I’m rooting for you b/c all the tea is in the best little bags you’ve ever seen, ready to go! 🙂

  7. says

    You so captured it – it’s the giving, the sharing, all the little hearts who live near us that make Halloween an opportunity to just plain Jesus love others! We had an awesome time with spider cupcakes, chili, grilled cheese, apple cider, big and little friends and lots of laughter!!!

  8. says

    So sweet, Laura – such beauty and grace and sweet, sweet goodness! Love your storytelling, love being with you on the front porch. And would love a bowl full of that jambalaya (spelling?) right now on this raining, blustery Nebraska day!

  9. says

    There really is a simply beauty and innocence in Halloween. Kids dressed up in costumes running, around the neighborhood, visiting each house for some candy. Thanks for the post.

  10. says

    Thank you for this sweet antidote to so much worry elsewhere in the blogosphere. Because of who we are in jesus, there can be grace in anything we do – and offering sweet things (like candy and words) is a fine example of hospitality, seems to me. And it is so bittersweet when the kids morph from lions to candy-givers..love it all, Laura. Thank you.

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