The doorbell rings.

You grab the bowl of candy and head to the door. As the door swings open, you hear the rustle of plastic bags and the thudding of plastic pails awaiting their prize.

“Trick or treat!” their voices chime and you smile as you pass out candy to each little creature and character who has come to visit.

You exclaim over their costumes, adding them to the list of visitors you’ve had this Halloween. “What a scary monster!” “What a fancy princess!” “What an adorable puppy!”

I will do the same thing this Halloween. Then, as the kids tumble down my steps and run back to their families, I will think about who didn’t ring my doorbell.

I will remember the children who are missing—the ones who can’t celebrate Halloween.

Will you remember them, too?

When I see costumed children at my doorstep, I will wonder who they would have dressed up as.

When I notice a few extra candy bars left at the end of the night, I will imagine their favorite candy.

When I hear the gleeful cries of “trick-or-treat” I will picture their smiles shining brighter than any jack-o-lantern.

When the doorbell is silent, I will remember them.

And I will remember my own daughter. I wish she had a turn to ring your doorbell and smile up at you.

But when it’s her turn, your doorbell will stay silent.

This Halloween, please remember what a joy this holiday can be for the children who celebrate it. And while you’re thinking of the children on your doorstep, will you do one more thing?

When the doorbell is silent, will you think of them?

This article originally appeared on An Unexpected Family Outing


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Rachel Whalen

Rachel Whalen is a writer and Kindergarten teacher who lives and loves in Vermont. She is the mother of two daughters; Frances who is 14 months old and Dorothy who was stillborn two years ago. Her daughter's silent birth has inspired her to use her voice to share about grief, pregnancy loss, and parenting after loss.