A Halloween I will always remember happened when I was new to my present home. I did not know at the time that I had a neighbor down the street who graciously hosted a dozen or more of her students to her own neighborhood to experience ‘trick or treating.’
They were from the Oregon School for the Deaf, and I would guess 5-7 years old. Many had never “trick or treated’ outside the protection of the dorms or classrooms. This was high adventure.
Dressed as ghosts, goblins, princesses, and monsters, they approached the house laughing with hands flying. They thought I’d be like every other house. Hand over the candy and nod. Though I had not expected them, I knew something they did not.
I stepped out on the porch and greeted them in American Sign Language. “Happy Halloween. Good to see you all.”
They froze as one and just stared. It was like they were seeing some kind of strange animal in the wild. They didn’t race for the candy. They lined up and each took a turn. The first question is usually, “Are you deaf?”
“No I’m not deaf,” I explain. “I’m hearing. But I know sign language.”
Once the ice was broken they smiled and each presented themselves so I could make the appropriate responses to their costumes. They were more eager for conversation than sweets.
“Oh my….you scare me! Are you a pirate?” “What a dress. I love the yellow and orange colors. Are you a princess?” “I can see your wings! Do you do magic?”
I signed with each one until every costume was appropriately appreciated. Then, they were off –laughing and signing — to the next house.
I closed the door feeling that I had been on the right street, just at the right time.