Halloween Vermont Style

Halloween Vermont Style

A family of pumpkins on the back porch, photo: Will DeBock

“I really like the houses where we sit down and talk to people.”
Aidan, age 14 (last trick or treat?)

Halloween is a unique experience of community in rural Vermont. Unlike the warp speed of suburban trick-or-treating, there’s lots of downtime (aka. distance) between houses here–either by foot or by car. This took getting used to at first, but my kids were born here so they never knew the difference.

Over the years, I’ve come to treasure this slowed experience, taking cues from my kids, who seemed unfazed by the pace, stopping in at homes to sit and visit, munching on the baked goodies while we talk, and getting acquainted with members of the community we may know only from sight.

Each family has their own highlights for sure. I know that mine loves the bit of walking we do from house to house on our mile-long dirt road, bumping into others in the dark and banding together as we arrive to spend time with neighbors.

Margaret and John’s has been a favorite over the years, and we feel the sting of her loss now.  Jean at the Inn is another highlight–with hot cider for all, and amazing cookies for the kids (they always share …after I beg.)

Rachel and Pieter live way out from the center of town, but their homemade donuts are worth the  drive. Then there’s Gail’s fudge up on the hill, and Megan’s pumpkin seeds and blonde brownies. (We miss her old dog Millie.)

When Kirsten was teaching at the school, she made homemade taffy in her kitchen on her back road; now Liz and Craig share homemade treats there.

Sometimes, there’s a bonfire down North Pond Road; and often a moonlit view from atop Cow Path 40.

On a warmer Hallows Eve, we’d eat dinner in the small cemetery on Fox Road.  Our friend Jesse is there now so we’ll at least stop to leave something at his headstone.

The hardest part of a rural Halloween for me is that we never get many trick-or-treaters ourselves. I love that knock on the door, and the sight of costumed child on my porch whose bag I get to help fill with treats.  Now I bring the treats with me so that I can share them with friends along the way.

Popcorn or candy?” I’ll ask.  The kids take the popcorn.  The adults all want candy.

Kelly Salasin, 2009

ps. Click here for “Candy Capitalism.”

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3 thoughts on “Halloween Vermont Style

  1. (Here via your comment on the HuffPo) I was going to Google your road until I came to “North Pond Road” and “Cow Path 40”. I live in the “big town” down the hill, near the hospital actually. We get over 150 kids each year. I grew up here, near the Retreat, and remember trick or treating in my neighborhood (where my parents still live). The thing that scared me most? The older kids with the shaving cream and eggs. That doesn’t even happen any more. I look forward to taking my son (age 5 months) trick or treating around the neighborhood. I plan to invite our friends who don’t live in neighborhoods and hang out on the sidewalk as the kids go up to each house. When he is old enough (12 probably) I will let him go off alone with his friends. Making him promise to save me the peanut butter cups.

    I look forward to reading more of your blog.

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  2. Made it here from Lenore’s Halloween column in Huffington Post. Sounds like you have a really nice Halloween routine now and actually know the folks living around you. Kind of makes me jealous. Happy Haunting!

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  3. The only way to know your neighbors is to get out of your house and meet them. It’s an effort, but let me tell you it is definitely worth it. You will be much happier in your community if you know who is in your community. Notice the word Unity is in there. Try it. You’ll like it.

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