Halloween Traditions Applicable to All Fall Families
Aside from the obvious Halloween Trick-or-Treat traditions that most families have, I’ve always felt it was important to go a little beyond the “typical.” Every holiday was an excuse to sit down, forget about life, and bond as a family. We even worked to make Halloween one of these times of the year.
Every Halloween, we would sit down as a family and watch two or three scary movies around Halloween. If Halloween fell on a weekend, we would spend all day glued to our TV eating popcorn and caramel apples. If it fell during the week at any point, we would split up our movies over two or three days since we had to get up early for school. When we were little, the movies had plot lines more like Winnie the Pooh being lost in a dark forest, later rescued by his affable friends. By the time I left for college, it was The Exorcist and Friday the 13th. The one movie that was a constant favorite was the version of The Headless Horsemen with Johnny Depp. We watched it every year, even though we could all quote it.
We never lived in an area that had seasons, so I don’t have fond memories of fall foliage walks – I have the memories of my family being together, laughing and talking. It doesn’t matter if you live in the ugliest area in the universe. Little kids remember happy times spent with their family, not their surroundings.
Once a year, my mother would make chili with cornbread, and this was only on Halloween night. I still crave this chili because it was made so infrequently. We literally came to worship her chili, begging her to make it throughout the year. She never caved, and therefore we only got it once a year. We would stuff ourselves so silly with it that we hardly had room for candy. Perhaps that was her plan all along.
After carving the pumpkin several days before, my father and I would save the pumpkin seeds in the refrigerator. After dinner on Halloween night, we would toast them and salt them on cookie sheets. The first Halloween at college away from my family, I think I missed this tradition the most. It’s something so simple but so memorable.
Halloween doesn’t have to be all about the costumes, decorating, or pranking. Maybe it’s time we shift back to looking at it more as Dia de los muertos. Remember your family and reel it all back in. There aren’t many opportunities to do so left. Take them where you can make them.