I wonder how Halloween will roll out in this second year of the pandemic. Last October, Woodsboro’s powers that be boldly, and I think admirably, decided to let the good times roll; and so far here in 2021, we’re on target for another crack at the fall classic embraced by kids of all ages.

Living on Main Street, we’re used to being at the epicenter of the invasion of masked marauders. Every September, I begin accumulating “fun size” candy bars in the heftiest bags I can find. The collections feature our personal household favorites — just in case there’re leftovers. A surplus of undistributed sweets rarely happens, however. Rather, emergency runs to Trout’s Market for reinforcements have been needed more than once.

With pretty much all of 2020 being a crap shoot, it was especially challenging to anticipate if we’d be hosting a trickle or torrent of trick-or-treaters. I was betting we’d get not only the usual suspects but those from a wider radius, since some towns cancelled their events. So, as chief-candy-buyer, I splurged on an extra-large stockpile.

Well-supplied with goodies, the next step was figuring how to get them to stalwart, if wary, hunter-gatherers. This was where my husband and our older daughter’s ingenuity shined brightest.

After zip-tying a length of gutter downspout to the front steps’ railing, they secured a large foam core jack-o-lantern, with a mouth cutout that fit perfectly around the bottom opening. The downspout was my husband’s idea and the pumpkin was our daughter’s creation. The effect was a fun and safe CCDS (COVID candy delivery system).

A slow start saw us giving two bars per customer. Then the floodgates opened, and it was all we could do to keep booty flying down the slide fast enough for all comers. The only SNAFUs were the result of user error on the part of a handful of smaller trick-or-treaters, who insisted on staring up into the seemingly magic pumpkin’s mouth at the exact second the candy was launched. The minor mishaps ended in giggles by kids who caught candy with their faces, including a couple superheroes-in-the-making who fearlessly pled for more.

Another favorite feature of the Writer’s porch last year was Covey. The life-size, plastic skeleton sported an “I Voted” sticker and a surgical mask. Right hand raised in a welcoming wave, Covey kept watch over the proceedings from his socially-distanced perch. While he did startle a few of the youngest visitors, he proved a popular selfie op during the festivities.

We were far from alone in enhancing and expanding our usual Halloween spirit. Throughout our town there was an explosion of spooky and whimsical decor, which I suspect was meant to help banish pandemic fears for a brief, much-needed respite — and I do believe it worked. For one pleasant fall evening, our little corner of the world was able to share a fleeting glimpse of “nearly normal” in a time that’s been anything but.

I truly enjoy the two hours each year when our town comes alive with locals and visitors taking a break from the real world to enter a realm of their own imaginations. I’m not sure what this Oct. 31 will bring, but I’m certainly counting on Woodsboro’s being ready for whatever comes our way.

Susan Writer wishes everyone a safe and fun Halloween. She can be reached at susanthinkingoutloud@yahoo.com. You can also visit her at Uexpress.com’s Ask Someone Else’s Mom.

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