Halloween has come and gone this year, and I hardly noticed. Has that which used to be my favorite holiday, lost its charm for me? I didn’t even buy a bag of trick-or-treat candy to eat like I have the last couple of years. What has changed? Has the spirit of Halloween deserted me forever?
I loved Halloween as a kid because I got to dress up, it was a chance to be someone else for a day. It also gave me a reason to invite people over for a party. My mom worked hard on costume parties and they were always fun.
As a young adult, I worked the Haunt at Knott’s Berry Farm. I was a part of a “world famous event” and looked forward to the creativity I got to use in my lighting, planning, and leading my crew, not to mention the money for all that overtime!
As a parent, it was a chance to share my childhood rituals with my young family and create some new ones. Every year, a few days before Halloween, we’d scour the thrift stores for ideas and grab up a few things to craft the perfect crazy costumes.
There were years that I’d decorate my house to show it off in all its glory, using my creative mind and acquired Haunt skills. There were parties to host, trick-or-treating, and fun adventures with other families.
When we moved to the rural desert, decorating took a backseat. I didn’t see the point of doing all that work if no one but us sees it. I didn’t miss it. I had other things to do. For a few years in a row, we’d gather up a costume and drive to my Grandpa’s house, picking up pumpkins to carve on the way. We’d spend the whole day decorating the front of his house with him, carving pumpkins, and trying to save some candy for trick-or-treaters. When the sun set, they’d wander the streets door to door to get all the candy they could. I loved hearing people’s comments about their crazy costumes, my kids laughing and playing, and the groans about “paying their taxes” at the end of the night. For those that don’t know, your kids owe you a couple pieces of that candy! I mean, I drove you here and helped with the costume! Where’s my peanut butter cup?!
This year was the quietest Halloween yet. There is only one kid home these days and he worked that night. My husband was brewing beer way into the evening. And me? I spent some time with a book and my journal, among other things. It wasn’t sad, nothing lacking, just peaceful.
If you had told me that some day I’d be home doing “nothing” on Halloween, I’d have been sad to imagine it, but experiencing it was something altogether different. Everything comes in cycles and that’s why I get up in the morning, because I’m aware that I’m on the peaceful side of the Halloween experience cycle and that the busy and wild side will come back around someday. There will be Halloween parties with new friends, my kids will have kids to take trick-or-treating.
I was proud of myself this week. Instead of feeling a twinge of sad and jerking back to avoid it, I leaned in to get a closer look at what was bothering me. I reminisced about the past instead of resenting my present, and I looked forward to the future instead of worrying about uncertainty.