Mischief Night. The name strikes fear in the heart of my oldest. She detests the very idea of people wandering through her neighborhood with the only intent to cause mischief. The mischief is usually benign. Mostly toilet paper. Sometimes eggs. Most heartbreaking are the smashed pumpkins. We take precautions; we keep our pumpkins in this night. This year we figured we were safe with the ginormous yellow pumpkin. This thing must weigh 50 lbs, at least! I don’t think anyone would expend the effort to lift it high enough for a good smash. We keep our cars off the street. We keep our lights on.
It is not the mischief that bothers me, but rather the simple fact that my daughter’s sense of safety and security is compromised. We can tell her “oh it’s no big deal” but to her it is...it is a very big deal.
So what does my daughter do? She regains her sense of control and empowerment by cleaning up the mess the mischief makers leave behind. This is year #2 of the Halloween Clean Up. Last year she went around the neighborhood with her friends and their older brother. No adult supervision was necessary. Having Halloween fall on Monday may have kept down the amount of clean up to a more manageable level, but it also meant her friends were in school and unable to join us.
Plastic bags in hand, bike helmets ready, my girls set out. The jumped to reach the high strands, they scaled fences, they zigzagged from tree to tree and from block to block.
I had a million things to do other than follow them around on their clean up. Our writing group was beginning very soon after. This had to come first. It had to take priority over everything else. This is what allows my child to enjoy Halloween.
This is what makes me wonder. I wonder if she realizes how powerful her need to be an environmental activist is. She has organized two beach clean ups and now has done two park clean ups. I wonder where this will take her. Often we focus on the obvious. She wants to be a meteorologist and a pianist. That is great. I know she has the ability to be both. I wonder if she knows about environmental science.......I may have to strew some material where she will be sure to find it.