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Cleanup from a week's worth of cast iron cooking - the pumpkin pie for last Saturday's Halloween party, plus several pots for preparing the chocolate cobbler from last night. I had a smaller number of kids last night than I was expecting - maybe a dozen, perhaps more, in groups of three and four, and I ended up with some vanilla ice cream in the freezer, and somewhat less than half a pot of chocolate cobbler. The toys I'll be saving for an opportunity; I get the feeling an event will occur where I'll be able to donate a bag of cheap party toys. (These aren't Christmas present type toys.) This neighborhood has lots of kids – I've seen them as I walked downtown. So where were they last night? It wasn't until I returned home that I learned a lesson in how times have changed these days. My neighbors had returned and were parking in the parking lot. Their kids were there in costume with them. Where did they go? They TOOK THEIR KIDS TO THE MALL for Trick-or-Treating. Apparently the local mall was packed with kids in costume. The parents these days don't "trust" one another to let their kids go trick-or-treating, so they all go to where they feel it's safe to walk around with their kids in costume, in the mall. That, I have to admit, disappointed me – not just because I didn't see as many kids as I'd hoped, but also because I can't believe how brainwashed people have become. Thanks to Wal-Mart and shopping malls, they would rather go there instead of being in their own neighborhood.

On the plus side, I did get to dress up in costume and treat kids to some sweets on Halloween. It's far more than I was able to do last year, so I can't complain.