Let me take this opportunity to wish a Happy Halloween to all of you.

As empty nesters, my wife and I are long past coming up with costumes and deciding who will go out with the dressed-up ones and who will stay home and man the door.

I still enjoy Halloween, though, and enjoy recalling Halloweens past.
On our first Halloween as parents, our firstborn was 9 months old and crawling. It was incumbent upon us, of course, to dress him up and display him. That’s what new parents do.img_0564

Some friends offered us the ideal hand-me-down costume – a turtle. It was perfect for a crawling baby, and I will tell you with all objectivity that it may have been the best Halloween costume ever.

Well, not exactly. When our daughter was almost 3, she was a butterfly, and I have never seen a sweeter butterfly in my life. It melted my heart. There could never be a better costume than that one.

img_0537Well maybe, maybe not. Our youngest went as a Ninja Warrior at around 6 years old and he might have put the other ones to shame. It was a perfect fit for his personality at that time of life.

Today, like so many parts of American life, Halloween has become way overdone with folks decorating their houses with orange lights and adorning their yards with inflatable black cats and pumpkins and such. There are Halloween parties for all ages and folks go all out with the costumes.

Churches, offering an alternative to Halloween, have fall festivals and “trunk-or-treat.”img_1220

I much prefer the traditional neighborhood trick-or-treating for the little ones.

You might be thinking I’m an out-of-touch curmudgeon, and I have little defense to that.

But a Halloween evening spent going to the door greeting the neighborhood children, with a carved jack-o-lantern on the front porch, is about my speed.

And speaking of the jack-o-lantern, I’m pretty good about being a big boy and not getting overly sentimental about my children having grown up and made lives for themselves. I would not be honest, however, if I were to say my heart doesn’t sink a bit when I go to carve the pumpkin and nobody about 10 years old or under is here to help me with it.

We will have fun tonight oohing and ahhing over the little goblins, witches, fairy princesses and the inevitable Disney characters (and probably Donald Trumps and Hillary Clintons – how scary will that be?) that come to our door.

But none will live up to the turtle, the butterfly or the Ninja Warrior.

Bob McKinney is a longtime Brentwood resident, husband of one, father of two and father-in-law of three. Email him at

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