|Liv and her brother - 2001|
"Enjoy every moment, because before you know it they'll be all grown up."
My Dad has repeated these words over and over since I was little myself, and the older I get, the more I come to understand exactly what he means. Here it is Halloween night, a night we used to look forward to for weeks. We would decorate the house, make multiple visits to pumpkin patches, and spend days planning out our pumpkin carvings. Then on the afternoon of Halloween Day, we'd cover the kitchen table and let the scooping begin.
Fits of laughter echoed through the kitchen as the kids touched the pumpkin insides, running their fingers through the stringy parts and squishing seeds across the room. Daddy would help them carefully cut what they had drawn on the front, and occasionally we would mess up and cut the teeth out by accident. "It just adds character!", we would tell the kids, and they would agree.
As dusk set, the costuming would begin. Visions of Darth Vader and Buzz Lightyear still fill my memories, along with a few princesses thrown in along the way. With my visiting mom at the door, our family would head out into the neighborhood together, the kids running ahead as us parents stayed back to chat with neighbors we really didn't see all that often. Mr. Passini would always have a cold beer for my husband with a comment of, "I'll bet your in need of one of these!" as he pressed it into my husband's eager hand.
When the complaints of, "My bag is too heavy!" and "I'm tired!" began to set in, we'd head for home. Once there, the kids would dump the candy in the middle of the kitchen table and bargain each other for trades of their favorite pieces. I was always amazed at the amount of wrappers in the bottom of their treat bags as I never really saw them eating on the road. Sly little guys they were.
Today, I sit here all by myself, glass of wine in hand along with a handful of freshly roasted pumpkin seeds. My mom didn't make here this year, she's home with a cold. My son? Well he's too old for trick or treating. He left around 6 when a girl picked him up in her car. Off to a teenage party they went, along with a promise to "Make Good Choices" and an agreement to be home by 10.
Liv had a couple of girlfriends over, and I loved hearing them chatter as they put on their make up and costumes, and I was more than thrilled when they asked if I could help them put on their false eyelashes. Then before I knew it, they shot out the door with a, "See you at 9:00, Mom!" and they were gone.
And here I sit watching as our neighborhood grows up. The hundreds of kids who used to ring the doorbell for hours on end, has turned into only 6 groups tonight, and one of them was the little neighbor girl who is only 2. No walking and chatting with neighbors for me, and no little hand reaching into mine looking for a little warmth as her eyelids began to droop in the chilly air.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds from one pumpkin, washed and cleaned of "strings"
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Dry the pumpkin seeds and drizzle with about 2 Tbs of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and give a good mix with your hands.
Spread onto a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray or alternatively, lined with a silicone mat.
Bake for about 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from oven, cool and store in an airtight container for about a week.