Erin was an owl for Halloween this year.
Lanie happily donned Erin's dog ears from last year.
Viviana was a black cat.
This sweet trio of girls were ready to go. A perfect dark night. Warm temperatures. And how they ran ahead, glow sticks glowing around them. They ran down the street and through the grass.
"Trick or treat!" they sang.
And of the porch lights that were on, kindness answered with sweet treats and happy wishes.
"Thank you!" they replied and ran on.
"Is this our fifth year?" Shane asked.
I paused to think.
Ivette made the girls Halloween buckets filled with treats and glow sticks and jewelry. Helen had special bags made up as well, and invited me in quick to show me their remodel in their basement. We hugged at least twice.
"I miss your face!" I said to her. "How do we live right next door and not see each other?"
Plans over Thanksgiving for coffee.
And more hugs.
Janice texted me this afternoon: are you coming over tonight? We have gluten-free candies for the kids.
This mantra seems to spread out from a home and echo in community: welcome, safe, loved, included.
Shane and I walked behind the kids as they ran ahead and we think long about these memories they are making. And it goes without saying between us, our gratitude.
Candy spilled across a table as trading ensues.
Squeals of absolute delight that they were gifted Halloween styled Beanie Boo key chains.
"They do it every year!" Lanie said. And it's something she looks forward to.
They settle in to watch television specials and eat candy.
As we finished reading Gilgamesh the Hero in Great Books a few weeks ago, I said to my class, "Write this down and remember it: Whether you plan on it or not, you will leave a legacy."
While these neighbors of ours shine welcome from porch lights, their kindness and actions impact my children in ways they'll carry their whole lives. Little do they know, the gift bags and welcome are a legacy of love.
At this age, my kids just see it as trick-or-treating. But maybe one day they'll understand the deeper treasure of community.