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Happy Halloween - Martha Carr

It can be difficult to celebrate Halloween in an urban setting, unless you're into getting dressed up and heading out to the parties. I didn't really like that route in my 20's, and now that I'm 51, it's even less appealing. Someone has even posted a link on Facebook for sexy Ninja Turtle costumes for adults and there are sexy miner costumers for sale. Snooki and the Situation are the hottest sellers this year.

That's a funny joke for less than 30 seconds and then there's an entire evening to get through. Instead, I love handing out the candy, carving pumpkins, playing spooky music and seeing all of the kids at my door. I get the opportunity to see all of those delighted Power Rangers and Jasmines, who can't believe adults are once again giving them so much candy.

I remember what it was like to take my own son, Louie, around our neighborhood in Richmond, Va., and there are the memories of my own childhood in Philadelphia as a gypsy with lots of costume jewelry.

Louie was the sort to count his candy carefully before eating any of it, so he could call around to his friends and compare his haul with others. He got that trait from his mother. He also hated the root beer candy and wondered why someone would even buy the stuff. Ditto for me, as well.

However, in order for me to partake in the revelry this year, I have to come up with a strategy because there's a big iron gate and then two locked doors between me and any trick-or-treaters. It's a standard problem for city dwellers.

It also doesn't help that all of the bars near my apartment building in Chicago hand out candy and for some reason, a lot of parents choose that option instead.

Imagine the childhood memories traipsing in and out of bars in costume, and the future 12 steps meetings where that story will be retold again and again. All of that would be enough of an obstacle to stop your average Halloween enthusiast, especially since I'm the one trying to give something away. It would seem so much easier to feel relieved from duty and sit inside watching football instead. But where's the fun in that?

I see all of the challenges as mere starting points. Last year, I was still walking with a cane after the cancer surgery and it was bitterly cold, but I still sat out there with hot tea and a big bowl of candy. I was not going to be deterred.

Unfortunately though, most of the parents took a right turn at the end of my short block in favor of the line of houses just around the corner. I'm not even sure they realized I was there. I got a few trick-or-treaters and met some of my neighbors, but I was left with a lot of candy.

Most of it went to a nearby halfway house except for the Kit Kats, which I took care of for them. I was happy to have been of service.

My low turnout from last year is not stopping me from being out there again on Sunday. This year, I'm ramping it up a little with dry ice in a black plastic cauldron and louder, spooky music. More neighbors are joining me as we attempt to become a part of our surrounding neighborhood.

I realize this all sounds like my own version of watching for the Great Pumpkin, but believing that things can be better and doing our part is how anything great is built in our life. Besides, if I decide ahead of the actual events in my life that something can't be done, then I'm saying the only possible successes are those things that I've already seen that others can do. It's a great example of saying no ahead of any real information and with an odd kind of prediction about a future that hasn't happened.

So, I will be out there again this Halloween with my giant bowl of the good kind of candy, which is anything chocolate, and a few more enhancements to get the trick-or-treaters down our short stretch of street. I'll do my best to leave the Kit Kats alone this year. Happy Halloween, everyone!

Martha's column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc., newspaper syndicate. E-mail her at: Martha@caglecartoons.com.