A Most Precious and Memorable Halloween

A photo of Mom and I at the big Halloween Trunk or Treat of 2019, held at Grace Baptist Church in Belleview, Florida.

By Richard Mabey Jr.

Every Halloween, at my church, the big Trunk or Treat Halloween celebration is held. It is a long-standing tradition, filled with all so much fun for children and adults alike. Every year, 20 to 30 cars fill the parking lot of my church, such that the trunk of the cars are facing the main thoroughfare. Children, with their parents and sometimes grandparents, come from far and wide to partake of the wholesome fun and heart-filled excitement of this grand and glorious event.

Each trunk station is hosted by a church member. My mom, Janet Kemmerer Mabey, simply loved this fun-filled event. Mom cherished interacting with the children. My mom had devoted well over 25 years serving as a Crossing Guard for the school children of Lincoln Park, safely crossing them across the street as they walked to and from school.

The Trunk or Treat of 2019 was a most cherished memory for me. For it would become Mom’s last time to partake of this wonderful church event. I think, deep in her heart, Mom knew that it was going to be her last time to enjoy the presence of the enchanting faces of all so many endearing little children.

As each child came to our little station, Mom would smile at the child, with their parent or grandparent standing close by. Mom would make a big deal about the child’s Halloween costume. Then Mom would hand the child two or three little candy bars. Most people would simply throw the candy bars into the child’s trick or treat bag, but I remember that Mom made a point to hand each child his or her candy bars.

Then Mom would simply say to the child, “God loves you very much.” And the child would smile, and Mom would look into the child’s eyes and say, “be a good boy,” or “be a good girl.” That evening Mom gave out candy bars to well over 200 children. This was a very special event that was well attended. People would come from Belleview and from neighboring towns to have their children partake of this wonderful Halloween event.

At the end of the evening, Mom only had about a half dozen candy bars left in her big basket, that was earlier filled to the brim with candy. I remember Mom looking down to the basket and tears flowed from her eyes. Mom took out her handkerchief and wiped the tears from her cheeks.

“Well, that’s over, kind of sad,” was all Mom said as she handed me a small Milky Way candy bar. Mom took a Reese’s peanut butter cup for herself. We both ate our little candy bars. Then handed in the basket and three or four left over candy bars to one of the church Deacons.

Less than two weeks after the big Trunk or Treat Halloween event, Mom had heart surgery to replace her Aortic Valve. Sadly, the surgery was not a full success and Mom went Home to be with the Lord, the next month, two days before Christmas Day.

In memory, I return to that very special evening of the big Trunk or Treat Halloween of 2019. Mom touched the hearts of well over 200 children that night. In all so many ways, it was Mom’s farewell to all the children to whom she had safely crossed across the street, on their way to and from school.

Life is short. There really isn’t time for strife and arguments. Love one another. None of us has a guarantee for tomorrow.

Richard Mabey Jr. is a freelance writer. He can be reached at richardmabeyjr@hotmail.com. Please put on the subject line: Halloween Story.

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