It was Halloween 2007 and I had planned to go trick-or-treating with Lauren in her neighborhood. Age 14 may have been getting old to participate in the activity, but Lauren and I hadn’t yet phased out of it. We still liked candy, and we still gave the Almond Joys to our moms. Robert was clearly too old for us, but Blake certainly wasn’t. Mr. and Mrs. Hubbard offered to drive us around the neighborhood, to help increase the efficiency of our candy accretion. This turned out not only to be a gracious offer, but the salvation of the activity.
As we prepared to depart, we were already seeing hints of what was to come. Lauren and I walked out the door wearing our “original” cowgirl costumes, as Blake trailed behind, already having trouble with his over-sized Cam Ward Hurricanes jersey and goalie padding. After a couple pictures, we got in the car and headed out. We walked up and down the walkways to houses, collecting candy, though walking became progressively slower. Blake’s costume was catching up with him. Goalie pads, a hockey stick, and a Way-Too-Big jersey were too much. With candy spilling at nearly every stop, what we thought would be an efficient Halloween clearly was not.
Despite Blake’s trouble walking to and from each house, the three of us managed to continue for a little bit longer. Hardly an hour had passed in our trick-or-treating before we soon realized this simply wasn’t working. Even taking off the goalie pads was not enough. The jersey itself was just too much for Blake, as he tried to walk without losing pieces from his ever-diminishing amount. By 8:30 pm, Mrs. Hubbard suggest that we head on back. It was a school-night after all, and how much candy did we really need? Even though a third of the candy would be thrown away (or eaten by parents), “just one more” is just too easy to say as a trick-or-treater. Lauren and I asked for a few more houses, trying not to complain about our time getting cut short.
Those few more houses helped us realize it was time to go home. Thankful to have a ride home, we got in the car, immediately beginning to compare and trade our candy. At home we laid our piles out, Blake’s significantly less than ours. After sorting our piles into the “good” ones and the “bad” ones, the ones we were willing to trade, and the Mounds and Almond Joys to give to Mrs. Hubbard, Lauren and I did find some compassion to share some of our candy with Blake. He was, in fact, unable to help his situation, and we didn’t need all this candy. But Blake never complained. He never asked for our candy. He never asked to go to more houses. He never wished to have chosen a different costume. He wasn’t greedy or annoying. He never expressed jealousy. He was simply a kid who got to go trick-or-treating, wearing a Cam Ward jersey. And that made sharing with him all the better. Because Blake was one to help you lose your awareness of your own need, and become tuned to the needs of others. Because Blake didn’t ask for anything, but enjoyed what he had. Because Blake had the innocence of a child, the ability to enjoy his life and receive from his Maker.