“Dear Great Pumpkin, I am looking forward to your arrival on Halloween night. I hope you will bring me lots of presents. Linus van Pelt”
Even though Charles Schulz, creator of the immortal Peanuts has changed his residency to the heaven-side, his kids, Charlie Brown, Lucy, Peppermint Patty and Linus still show up in our newspapers, which is a good thing. What would Fall be like without Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown, promising that this time she won’t yank it away at the last minute, leaving him flat on his back with all the air punched out of him. Or Linus sitting out in the pumpkin patch with Sally, Charlie Brown or Snoopy, convinced that if his pumpkin patch is the most sincere pumpkin patch that the Great Pumpkin will rise up with his bag of toys and bestow gifts upon him. His friends are skeptical. We would be, too.
In our neighborhood, we have the sincerest pumpkin patch every year when neighbors down the street grow the most amazingly huge pumpkins. No, they aren’t those thousand pound babies that you see on TV, but these guys are pretty big. When Halloween rolls around, they carve them into fantastical creations: Cinderella’s coach, the body and head of a black widow spider…yes, they add twenty foot long legs, a lamp for a skeleton to read by, and just plain scary jack-o-lanterns.
In days of yore, when our kids were young, they’d rummage through the house and create costumes for themselves, one of the best being our son when he was about twelve, dressed in one of my old maternity dresses – yes, should have been donated years ago, but outta sight, outta mind – a cascade wig of curls, all the makeup in the world and a pillow stuffed up inside his underwear to create the baby on the way. They were hobos, clowns, hippies and sometimes, just, “I’m not sure, mom said it was the fifties!” They’d hit the streets of our neighborhood where everybody knew them and gave them cookies, pennies, apple cider, a few Hershey’s kisses and the occasional Snickers bar. A massively good time was had by all, they came home covered with sweat and chocolate, sat down, compared the take, did a lot of trading, and ate all they wanted that night. Every year I assured them that I’d put it in the freezer and they could have a couple of pieces every day. Every year they totally forgot about it and life went on.
It was fun, they were safe and it was no big deal. Now we love seeing the littlest kids, out with their mommy and a brother or sister in a stroller. They are adorable, say thank you with just a little prompting…or a lot of prompting…and are happy with a Tootsie Roll. Later we lock the gate, turn out the porch light and see what’s left. Tootsie Rolls, by the way, go really well with a nice glass of Chardonnay!