|Some of the best weather for years. It would make Schultz proud|
Even though they were ready to hang up the Tricks or Treats as they got older, they stayed with it. This was to make sure their youngest, nine years younger than our third son, would have a sense of belonging to the same stories and traditions as the other three. To that end, they did yeoman's work making sure that, to the best of their ability, he got to take part in things the way they did growing up.
It was always a tad different, I'll admit. When we first did our 'Ghost Run' at a local cemetery, it was purely improvised to fill in time before a local football game. Even as it became a tradition, it was with three young pre-teen boys who ate up the ambiance of cemeteries under grey October skies during the Halloween season.
They tried to keep up the same 'excitement' for their brother's sake, but it wasn't always easy. As any adult with kids will tell you, one mark of being a parent is wondering how you had so much fun as a child with such simple pleasures. I always knew the older three were doing their best to put on the show of excitement. Sometimes I think their youngest brother could also tell.
As the years went on, it became tougher for them all to be around on the same days. A couple of times work or other social schedules beckoned, though they did their best to set aside time whenever possible. Three years ago they were planning on moving onward and out in order to transfer colleges. The plan was for them to move in together to reduce expenses. Nonetheless, they promised they would still make time for their younger brother if at all possible.
Then came Covid, and that changed things. Their plans to move out got derailed. Since then, they've hunkered down and decided they will move out when have to, rather than just move out to move out. The money they save being enough to set them up for a decent nest egg and rainy day fund in these troubled times.
Being home at this age, however, doesn't make it any more likely to be around. Due to social lives, increased work demands, promotions, moving upward into higher levels of college coursework, all conspire to keep them gone more than around. In many ways, the home is a glorified bed and breakfast for them. Though they try to spend at least one day with the family and one with their brother, it's not always all of them. So at any given time, we get it might not be this time they can pull it off.
Despite all of the change, this year they did it again. They moved a few mountains, cashed in a few favors, and made sure they were here to go out with their youngest for old times' sake. Our youngest has made friends with the brothers of our second oldest's girlfriend (who also accompanied them around the neighborhood this year for Tricks or Treats). We managed to get things in, if not in abbreviated manners and sometimes with tight schedules tugging at our elbows.
But it was fun. Given his basic attitude, I guess he won't go out next year even if the chance is there. My mom, of course, must stay indoors at this time. My son's girlfriend's dad actually came over and sat with me to hand out candy. A good family, and a good girl - a father could wish for worse for his son.
So, in the spirit of old blog posts when I used to have such updated at various times of the year, here's a quick pictorial zip through our Halloween festivities. Much has changed, but in it all, the family is here, the boys are still close, and I'd call that a net win for these crazy times.