Kelly Bastone: This is our holiday
Steamboat Springs — “This is our holiday,” Ben said as we drove Simone downtown for the Lincoln Avenue trick-or-treating. He wasn’t talking about us as a couple. Unlike our neighbors, we weren’t married on Halloween, and Vincent Price’s cackling isn’t “our song.” He was talking about Steamboat—because if there’s one celebration that really brings our community together, it’s Halloween.
What about Winter Carnival, you say? When scores of families dedicate their time and sacrifice their kids’ safety to our civic amusement? Or how about the summer concerts, or the spate of fireworks we all enjoy throughout the winter? What about the community Thanksgiving dinner?
All terrific, say I. But nothing spurs us to interact with our neighbors quite like Halloween.
For starters, there’s no one in town but neighbors. Most visitors have gone by late October, and the remaining faces look familiar, though you may not know their names.
And on Halloween, the whole town gathers for a de facto block party on Lincoln Avenue. With the central business district closed to cars, families stroll between the storefronts, waving at friends and marveling at the costumes. The see-and-be-seen mixer appealed to me well before I was a parent. Ben and I would chuckle at the pint-sized princesses and superheroes, then warm a bar stool until the live music started thumping later on.
We still enjoy late-night dancing in Halloween costumes, thanks to babysitters. Only now, having a child also gives us an excuse to knock on our neighbors’ doors. After the Friday block party (thank you, merchants, for your friendly generosity!) we participated in Saturday’s old-fashioned, door-to-door trick-or-treating on the street behind ours. Residents chatted with Simone about her witch costume, she danced along with animated ghouls on one house’s lawn, and we introduced ourselves to neighbors we’d never spoken to. It was awesome.
Even Simone’s kettle of candy offered unexpected perks. When a flowery pair of new winter boots arrived for her, we told Simone that she could “buy” them with a portion of her loot. She eagerly handed over fistfuls of sugar, then congratulated herself for her big-girl purchasing power.
So not only did I make a bunch of new pals at Halloween, but I also scored a box full of chocolate. What’s not to like about that?
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