I love Halloween. I love the little children in their costumes, ringing my doorbell and shouting “Trick or Treat!” when I open the door. I love the color orange that goes with Halloween, the pumpkins and the various decorations that people display in their yards. And I love the candy(Three Musketeers rock any Halloween stash!).
When I was little I loved trick-or-treating. My sister and I would go out with hordes of neighborhood kids, running from house to house, never heeding our parents’ calls to “slow down.” We kept up with the other children, making sure we didn’t get short-changed in the candy haul.
As I got older, trick-or-treating morphed into Halloween parties and school dances. And even later when I became a teacher we were still allowed to celebrate the holiday in school, so the other English teachers and I dressed up. I remember being Elvira, with a modified neckline, of course (does anyone still remember her? I’m sure the men do!). One time I left work and went straight for a doctor’s appointment in my costume. I have never forgotten the look on that man’s face when he walked into the exam room and saw me in my Elvira costume. I bet he didn’t forget, either.
After I got married and my husband and I had children of our own, the cycle repeated itself. We chased our sons through the neighborhoods, admonishing them to “Slow down!” even though they never listened. We watched them plan their own costumes, some of them totally awesome while others were epic fails (think a mummy made out of unwinding toilet paper!).
Nowadays our sons are grown, though they still live with us, but that’s a subject for another blog post. They love this holiday like I do. They love it when I bring out the Halloween decorations and place them around the house. They ask where the Halloween cookies are. You know, the sugar cookies with the ghost or pumpkin in the center that you bake and pretend are homemade? Of course, my sons can hold five or six of those little delicacies in the palm of one hand, but that’s kind of the point. They’ve grown up, but the holiday still lives inside them.
Instead of trick-or-treating, now they go to theme parks that have scary parties. They go to restaurants or (yikes!) bars that have adult parties with adult costumes. These days the words “Trick or Treat!” take on a whole new meaning for an old-fashioned mom.
But even with the twenty-first century worries that can plague a parent of young adult children, I still enjoy Halloween. I still put out the decorations that I’ve had since they were little, and I delight in the tiny smiles of satisfaction I spy on their grown-up faces. And I can barely refrain from dancing a jig when my oldest son asks me if I bought the orange and chocolate candies from the local candy store, the candies his grandma bought every year and the ones I continue to buy since her passing seven years ago.
It’s those little instances, those encapsulated flashes of time that underscore the importance of holidays throughout our lives. No matter how old we get, when we see a carved pumpkin or a toddler with a sheet over his head, our mind casts us back into our own pasts, allowing us to relive the true moments that matter. The moments with our family.
Now, go out and make your own happy moments. Happy Halloween!