Sammy was sitting in her living room, watching TV and eating a Tootsie Roll. Then she heard a knock on her front door. She walked over to the front entrance and opened the door. It was the boy.

"Hey," she said.

"Hey, he said.

Sammy stood there for a moment, expecting him to explain his presence at her front door. Then she realized that it was -5 degrees outside and snowing. The boy was shivering.

"You want to come in?" she offered.

"Sure," he said.

The boy took off his coat and boots, and then followed Sammy into the living room.

"Eating a Tootsie?" he asked, noticing the distinctive brown coloured wrapper that she had left on the ottoman.

"Yep," she said. "That’s the last of my Halloween candy for the year."

"Yeah?" said the boy. "I’ve got about a week’s supply left."

"I love how long Halloween candy lasts." said Sammy.

"Yeah," agreed the boy. "It kinda makes you think, doesn’t it?"

"About what?"

"Who has the best Halloween?"
 
"Huh?" said Sammy. She was starting to get used to the erratic nature of her conversations with the boy, but she was caught off guard by this apparent non-sequitur.

"Okay, let me explain," said the boy. "Halloween is celebrated differently depending on how old you are, right?"

"Aren’t most holidays like that?" Sammy asked.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, take Thanksgiving for example. We don’t spend all day preparing the food. The grown-ups do. We just eat it. That’s something different. At at Christmas, kids don’t give nearly as much as they receive. Or what about Easter? The parents hide the eggs, and the kids find them. They’re not doing the same thing."

"But they are doing the same thing."

"How so?"
 
"Think about it," started the boy. "On Thanksgiving, everyone gets together and eats a feast. That’s the main activity. Everyone, regardless of age, participates in that activity. Kids just have a different role in it than grown-ups do. And on Christmas, the whole family gets together and exchanges gifts. Everyone, regardless of age, takes part in that activity. Kids often receive more than they give, but they’re still involved in the gift-giving. They just play a different role. The same goes for Easter. The grown-ups hide the eggs, and the kids find them, but they’re all participating in the same activity in different roles."

"What about New Year’s? My family splits up for that, and everyone goes to different parties."

"But everyone is still involved in the same activity: counting down the minutes and seconds until midnight. You might not be in the same house as other members of your family, but regardless of the age, everyone does the same thing."

"Alright, but how is Halloween any different?"

"On Halloween, everyone does something different depending on their age group. At first, we dress up in costumes and go trick-or-treating. Then we get too old for trick or treating, and take one of two paths: Either we continue our costumed lives, and go to Halloween parties, or we abandon the costumes and cause mischief in our neighbourhoods by throwing eggs at people and houses. Neither of those two paths have anything to do with trick or treating. When we have kids of our own we again get involved in trick-or-treating, either by accompanying our kids or giving out candy to trick-or-treaters."

"Okay, all of that makes sense, but what’s your point?"

"Who has it best? Who has the most fun on Halloween?"

"I don’t know," said Sammy. "Maybe the teenagers who go to parties. Why, what do you think?"

"I don’t know either, to be honest." said the boy. "It’s impossible to judge things without having experienced them, and I’m still a few years away from experiencing a Halloween party. With that said, I think that we have it the best."

"Why’s that?"

"Think about all of the positive things we get from trick-or-treating: Dressing up in costume, a night out with our friends, and candy. Mischief-causing teenagers only get a night out with their friends, and none of the other benefits. As for parents, they get to spend time with their kids, and they probably get some gratification out of giving out candy to trick-or-treaters, but that’s it. Which leaves only two groups: The trick-or-treaters and the party-going teenagers. And looking at our list, there’s only one difference between the two groups. Both groups get to dress up in costume, both groups get a night out with their friends, but only we get candy."

"So basically you’re saying that we’re better than them because we get candy and they don’t?"

The boy nodded.

"Isn’t that kind of… immature?" asked Sammy.

"I knew you’d say that," said the boy. "Let me explain myself better. I’m not saying that their Halloween is awful and ours is amazing. I’m just saying that we have exactly what they have, plus some lasting gratification that they don’t. We’re into December now, and you still have that Tootsie Roll to remind you of Halloween. They get a hangover that lasts a day. That’s why ours is better."

"Still… it’s just candy. I mean, I love a good Tootsie Roll as much as anybody, but it’s still just candy."

"You’re talking like one of them now!" said the boy, his tone rising suddenly. "Yes, you’re right. It’s just candy. It means nothing. We can give it up. And let’s give up recess, too. And bike riding. And snowball fights. And tree climbing. And tag. Let’s give all of those up because they’re just small parts of our lives that mean nothing in the long run. Don’t you get it? You don’t just wake up one day as a grown-up. It happens slowly, over time. You give up all of the little things, one by one, and slowly you grow up."

Sammy had never heard him speak like this before. She was speechless.

"The little things in life are what make us who we are," continued the boy. "You give those up, and suddenly you’re someone else. I have to go now. My mom is calling me."

And with that, the boy put on his boots and coat, and departed.

What a strange boy,’ Sammy thought.

***

Check out this formula:

Knock on door + say "Trick-or-treat!" = Receive candy.

Did we ever have Halloween as good as we had it then? Personally, I don’t think so.

The problem with skipping a few weeks in the chronology of this thing is that it makes writing about recent events difficult. I knew that I wanted to write a Halloween piece, but since the last Sammy and the boy was set in "the middle of November," I couldn’t write something taking place on October 31st. Thus, the Halloween piece takes place in December. You wouldn’t believe how long it took me to get beyond the fourth line of this because of that.

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