Again, another year with no trick or treaters. I buy the candy anyway - and I'll take it into the lab tomorrow. Peppermint patties and Junior Mints this year. I did carve two pumpkins - I love placing them on the railing of my deck, a deck that is 15' off the ground. If I turn my front porch light off, from my yard below and the road outside my gate, you can see the smiling pumpkins - their smiles floating among the trees. I love Halloween. I'm not sure why - it's an excuse to be silly (I rarely need an excuse), an excuse to be creepy, gory, and to blend in with the darkness. An excuse to have a carved gourd glowing on your porch, greeting the raccoons throughout the night. As a child, Halloween was a wild time - we lived in a neighborhood of about 30 homes, all with yards that were several acres or more. I don't remember my parents going with me after I was 4 or 5 - so after that age, my brother and I were released into the dark street that wound through our neighborhood, where we quickly split up so that we could hang out with our friends. He was three and a half years older than me - old enough that we didn't want to hang out with each other. All of us wore homemade costumes - we were pirates and hippies and mummies and the walking dead. I would hook up with my friends Barbara and Glen - and we'd first go to the dark house that always had a huge bowl of candy (usually tootsie pops) on their front porch and stock up, then the home where they always gave out apples, then we'd go to the house where the woman would always dress up as a witch and when she opened her door she would start stirring a large steaming cauldron (I didn't know then about the wonders of dry ice). Methodically we'd run from house to house, oblivious of time, following a road and individual driveways that we knew so well, even in the darkness - stopping to hide behind red cedars so that we could jump out in front of our friends, jumping in the air ourselves when someone came out of the dark, scaring us - running breathlessly, wildly, loudly, clutching our bags of candy as we ran. Eventually we would run out of houses, cursing our parents for living in a neighborhood with large yards - wishing we had a neighborhood of small lots and small homes to plunder, a neighborhood where we could obtain Halloween loot from home after home after home until the sun came up. Reluctantly, we returned to our homes, tossing our candy onto our beds, assessing the year's 'take' - pondering if anyone would trade the Mary Janes for chocolate Kisses.