If there is any Halloween tradition that I hold dear, it would be the tradition of spending enjoyable time with my family and friends in our neighborhood. I remember how my mom would be able to create fun costumes from everyday items and clothing. She made it look so easy! Later, when I was a teenager, I enjoyed handing out candy or going to a dance or skating party. It is not that I would dress up at that stage, at least, not where anyone could see me. As an adult and parent, I remember how fun it has been to take my children trick-or-treating around the neighborhood with my sister and her children, as well as, my best friend and her children. I do not think that our original tradition has changed, very much. I think it has evolved to include many people, and it is still about being together and having fun.
When I was a child, my parents were very hard-working, and they were careful about their money, but buying store-bought costumes was not something we were able to do. I love to have my mom and sisters dig through our closets, my mom’s make-up, and the paints and colored hair spray. My mom is very creative, and we would have so much fun devising unique costumes. It was a family activity, although poor Daddy usually just complimented our costumes and stayed home to hand out candy. What a sport! We always came home with a ton of treats. We would inspect them with our parents and trade amongst ourselves, of course we offered some of the candy to our parents, although our greedy little selves wanted to have all the good stuff. Thankfully, our parents liked a lot of things that we thought were icky! Then it would be time to remove the costumes, put them back in their places, and wash off the paint and hair color. Halloween was done for the year.
As early teens, my younger sister and I would generally stay home to hand out candy, although there were a few times that we made a quick circuit around the neighborhood in costumes. We were way too cool to go around our friends or any cute guys in the costumes, but we didn’t want to give up the fun of trick-or-treating, yet. Occasionally, there would be a school dance, a skating party or a dance in a club on a family night that we would attend. I always found it funny, but we weren’t like most of our friends who wouldn’t be caught dead with their parents. Nine times out of ten, we took our mother with us when we could. Poor Daddy. He got stuck at home with the candy bowl and the doorbell, even then. Honestly, I think he likes being in the house without the noise and insanity of going out with several teens. I know he loves my mom, but that would have been too much. He was a really good sport about letting us drag Mom to the various activities, Halloween or not.
Once we were grown and had our own children, we continued to gather at my parents’ house. Everyone in our family who can make it, shows up, whether they are family by blood or by choice. My sisters, my nieces, my aunt and cousin, and my best friend and her children would be there to enjoy some time together. We divide the duties of helping our kids don their costumes, fixing their hair and painting faces. It is nice to be able to go to a neighborhood that we know, and we can feel safe taking our children around it. I also enjoy stopping to visit the people that I do not get to see very often and show off my kids. Life is so hectic when you are the adult and parent. You just do not realize how quickly time goes.
Our Halloween tradition is not exactly the same every year; no more than people are the same from year to year. There have been marriages, divorces, boyfriend and neighbors who have moved in and out of our lives. For example, even though I enjoy and anticipate Halloween, this year will be difficult. There is one of the people whom I love that will not be able to be there this year. My best friend of twenty years passed away in June due to complications from her four-year battle with cancer. Her children are now living with the cousin that she chose, and they are dealing with this loss very well, thanks to him. I am so grateful that he is so intent on bringing the kids to trick-or-treat with us. He does not want them to lose that, and he will see to it that they continue to share this tradition with us.
I believe that our tradition is a wonderful thing. It may not have a lot to do with cutting up pumpkins or going to parties, but we enjoy it sincerely as family time. I have recently looked back and realized that I am so fortunate to have the family and friends that I am blessed with. I thought about our tradition, and I am glad that it is not rigid. I prefer that it expands and evolves to include people as they come into our lives. I hope that all of the children that we take will remember the Halloweens that we all spent together, and I hope they will bring their children to my parents’ house when that time comes. Also, I hope that if you do not have a tradition of your own, that you will create one that will give you wonderful memories for you and yours. Happy Halloween