This year marks the first Halloween when there are no children in the house. Everyone is now 18 or older.
Okay, that's not technically true - the grandchildren will be over, starting the cycle anew. Still, this fall has been quieter than any in more than a quarter century - no back to school, no marking periods, parent meetings, report cards or dances. It's very relaxing.
Autumn is a nostalgic season, and a year ago there was an air of reflection and memory. This year, the emphasis is on looking forward, as the kids continue to discover the joys (and pains) of independence and the grandchildren being to find their voices and understand the world around them. The elder has memories of last year, so she had anticipated this moment. The younger is taking it all in for the first time. Next year both will be veterans.
I'm looking forward to Mass tomorrow, which is itself a sign of my spiritual growth. Candy, scary movies and costume parties are all fun, but in my case they have become a bridge to something far more profound.