Monday, October 31, 2011
This year Little Miss Sweetness is going as a She-Werewolf wearing an outfit that fits her punky black and pink taste. The Drama Queen is dressing as Cleopatra outfitted with flowing fabric hanging from the sleeves that she can move back and forth in her ever so dramatized fashion. They are both as cute as can be and moving from year after year of Cinderella and Snow White costumes, I am completely happy with a change in their character choices. I think back to my childhood and can only remember two of my own outfits: a bunny and a chimney sweep. I know there were more and I'm sure my mom could recall all the costumes in between, but all I muster up the memory of are a bunny and a broom-toting chimney sweep trying to mimic by grandparent's Scottish accent.
While the costumes have escaped my memory, the yearly traditions haven't. I remember trick-or-treating with my neighborhood friends, Sadye and Sam. We would go door to door of our own neighborhood where almost all the houses would be lit up and welcoming of costume clad kids. Ending the night at their house, we would dump our plunder out onto their living room floor to take inventory of our success and then barter and trade the unwanteds with each other. As I think back, I see the early hints of my self-diagnosed OCD, as I recall my severely straight rows of perfectly organized candy.
I also remember the Halloween party in the basement of my church every year. Yes, it was a Halloween party, not a trunk-or-treat or fall fest. Apparently this was in the days of churches still being able to call it Halloween without creating their own fear of offending it's members who think anything Halloween related is evil and anti-Christian. No, I'm not here for a religious debate, if you choose not to dress up your kids or give out candy, that's up to you. I personally don't think it demeans my Christianity to dress up my kids for trick-or-treating, but would more violate the terms of being selfish and greedy. But like I said, I'm not debating here, just sharing a memory, so back to the Halloween party. I remember each classroom of our basement being set up with different games and activities; a cake walk, bobbing for apples, sticking your hand in a bowl of unknown or describable contents and more. It was always a fun-filled time and added more loot to the night's plunder.
Now, we create different memories for our children. The streets are darker now with more unlit, unwelcoming houses than there are candy giving ones, so we opt for the trunk-or-treats at our area churches. We will make our way down the main highway in town going from church to church where cars are lined up with trunks decorated in a variety of themes. There are a few neighborhoods that we have gotten to know over the years that are kid friendly where we will walk door to door and run in to several of our family friends and children's school mates. I will spend the evening reminding my girls of their "thank you's" and getting my hand squeezed a little tighter when a scary costume crosses our path. Then we will go back to our home and dump the plunder out on our own living room floor, separate the peanut and peanut butter candy into mom and dad's own stash and let the kids work out the details of their own trades. The night will end with more "pleases" and begging to eat more candy before bed, which as tradition goes we will allow a little more than normal, because "it is Halloween".
So whether you are the parent accompanying your little costumed ones, the trunk decorating, candy giving fairy at the local trunk-or-treat or the door opening neighbor dropping candy into buckets and bags tonight, remember you are creating a memory for all the little ones you encounter tonight. This parent thanks you for being a part of the Halloween tradition and wishes you a Happy Halloween!