Dear Lady One Neighborhood Over:
Tonight, Halloween Night, you opened your door, candy bowl in hand and saw a few young teens at your door. "Trick or Treat," they said.
You gave them the once-over: the boy in the leather jacket with slicked back hair, the boy in the glow-in-the-dark skeleton hoodie, and another of their friends or two.
Holding your precious bowl of candy, you said you would not give them any because, in your opinion, they (at age 13-14) were "too old" to trick or treat. That's certainly your right. At one time, I thought it strange to see teenage trick or treaters.
But I've evolved. I realized that these aren't kids looking to prank anyone, to smash their Jack o'lanterns, or to scare the little kids. They just want to celebrate their youth a bit longer.
Understand this: it's a scary world. As scary as it is for us adults, can you fathom how frightening it is to the next generation? Terrorist attacks in the US and abroad. Multiple murders per day just 40 miles away. The 2016 presidential election.
Not to mention that kids today are under so much pressure to grow up. Drugs, violence, sex, crime... Kids are bombarded with messages that are counter to our family values. They know this, and some of them want to hold on to their innocence a bit longer. But tonight, you drew your in the sand over a three cent piece of candy. As is your right.
However, at my house, kids of all ages are welcome to ring my bell on Halloween. If these young adults/teens/tweens want to hold on to - and celebrate - their innocence one more October night, I celebrate that with them.
As mean as my son thought you were (because there was nothing kind about your words or your demeanor), he was even sadder for you...because he realized that if anyone who is "too old" for Halloween, it's you.
In a blink of an eye (as soon as 4 short years), these young boys may be the EMT or police officer who responds to your call for help. He may be the young man who pulls over to assist when you have car trouble. Who picks you up if you should fall, who helps you with a too-heavy package, who arrives with the fire crew to extinguish the grease fire on your stove, who shows up to fix your air conditioning on a 90+ degree summer day. Rest assured that these boys -- because I know them -- will never give you the once-over and decide that you are "too old" to bother with. (We, their parents, gave raised them better.)