When I was a trick-or-treater, my favorite house on the block belonged to the Scharenbroichs. Mark and Sue dressed up in costumes and played spooky music as they handed out candy, but that’s not what stood out to me. No, what delighted me most was that they gave giant candy bars to the kids they knew! So, when I came to the door with my brother, Mark and Sue made a point NOT to go to their regular bowl of candy, but to pull out a huge candy bar for each of us as they fawned over our costumes and showered us with affirmations.

I just thought they were super-duper nice, but realize now that they had good reason to treat us with TLC on Halloween. Research shows it’s critical for kids to know there are adults in their community who care about them, beyond their family. Those caring adults are one of the key ingredients in a kid’s life that sets him or her up to thrive; one of the things kids need to succeed. Little did I know that as Kai and I were getting giant candy bars and verbal affirmations from the Scharenbroichs, other kids in the neighborhood were getting the same from my parents.

Today, Brad and I follow their example; we have a stash of giant candy set aside, we say our neighbor-kids’ names as they come to the door, we tell them how much their costumes rock. It may seem small, but feeling seen and special is always a big deal for a kid. How will you celebrate the kids you know today?