It is nearing sunset on Halloween, and soon my doorbell will be ringing as neighbor’s little ones come looking for treats. To me, the littlest ones who come pretty early are the most fun, but I understand the desire to trick or treats as kids age out of the practice too!
In 1991 my own sons were still very ‘into’ the Halloween spirit. It was a lovely fall, nearly 75 degrees two days earlier. One had laboriously made his own wizard’s cap and cape, full of glitter and glitz. At age 12, he thought he was getting too old for the costume routine (or so he said!) But having a little brother made for a great ‘excuse’ to get out trick or treating. The younger son was a pirate, complete with a foil paper hook for his arm. Both must have been ahead of their time, as today’s popular movies and books on wizarding and pirates had yet to come out.
When you trick or treat in Minnesota and other cold-weather states, your costume has to have a heavy jacket inside, or be covered by one. But that day it was misty and in the 60’s, not all bad for Halloween weather. Boring old mom (ME!) insisted on a bit of dinner before the boys took on the neighborhood. The wee ones from next door showed up before sundown, but my sons headed out at dusk, bags in hand. Coatless, but mittens in pockets for cold hands on the damp night.
I saw the snowflakes start to fly even as they crossed the street to meet friends, and figured that the snow would turn back to drizzle soon. How wrong I was! I watched in absolute amazement as my sons trudged up the block, door to door, laughing as their footprints disappeared in the copious snow behind them. Younger children were shepherded inside and parents took to shoveling their walks. When my sons gave up and came home, less than thirty minutes later, one had over six inches of snow on his shoulders!!
Their bags were overflowing, as neighbors soon realized no other kids were coming and dumped all their candy on my sons. The excitement of Halloween gave way to the wonder of snowfall, silent, beautiful, and seemingly never-ending. By bedtime, we had a dozen inches of very wet snow.
Come the morning, and our Halloween treat of a snowstorm had turned into a trick, with almost 31 inches of snow covering my front steps, my car, and the whole town. Everything was closed, schools, highways, stores, a very rare event in our wintery state. The snow was still coming down, but slower, and we had nearly three feet by the end of the day. It blanketed all of Minnesota, most of the neighboring states too, and nearly a third of the state had no power for a week. Indeed, it was the start of a snowy winter, with over 50 inches falling before the end of November.
The police came through neighborhoods on snowmobiles, as the roads were not passable for a couple of days. Snowplows took a few days to get down the streets, pulling out buried cars as they went. My enterprising sons made a fortune shoveling for neighbors or pushing stuck cars, well fueled by their candy supply. The sun came out, it was stunningly beautiful, but rather overwhelming too.
How different it is this year-all treats! The sky is clear, the leaves are golden, and the temperature is about 50 degrees. This year’s early storms seemed to have headed east instead, which is fine with me (sorry friends in Delaware and Maine.) There are still treats in the yard, the snapdragons are lingering, the carrots and spinach still in the ground. Winter will hold off a bit here, but it will come.
In a few weeks we will be glad to welcome winter, even if it brings bitter cold and copious snow. In October, winter is a trick. By late November, when winter brings that unique treat of crisp air and clean, snowy landscapes, I am happy to see it. But come April, happy to see it go!
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