By: Sandy Churchill
I love Halloween! I love Thanksgiving! I love Christmas! I love Easter! I love the Fourth of July! As you can surmise, I am one of those folks who gets excited about any reason to celebrate—to get together with family and friends, craft, cook, converse, and do myriad seasonal things that comprise holiday traditions.
This year’s Halloween was odd, for sure. We had few trick-or-treaters, down from our 100+ in our neighborhood heyday. Our second grandbaby was born just two days before Halloween, and my daughter came home from the hospital today, though little Riley is still in the NICU for a bit. COVID caution has still impacted trick-or-treating, and this Sunday evening is a bit quieter this year, sans our usual costumes. Our yard is still a mess with downed trees and twigs from a crazy, power-sapping Nor’easter this week, but my husband, son, and I gathered for a cozy Halloween campfire as we awaited trick-or-treaters.
Others with adult children are also experiencing the shift in the “feel” of Halloween and other holidays. In pondering this, I recalled a comment I heard this week about Halloween being more of a “season” for kids nowadays, where it was a one-and-done day when I was a kid. Now, we have parties and trunk-or-treats, corn mazes, pumpkin decorating, and costumed events and contests. Some may find this “bigger-and-better” mentality to be entitled or even a bit spoiled for kids, but I dramatically disagree. I say, bring it on! This consideration cheered me up immediately when I infused some gratitude into this month’s celebratory memories…
Our grown daughters and I painted pumpkins, four of us hit the nature fun of the mountain coaster earlier this month, and we tent-camped with my young nephew when he visited from out of state. We sipped cider, made apple crisp, learned to roll and press and cut our very first home-made pasta, and watched Charles Schulz’ legendary The Great Pumpkin! We had a ball designing our pirate/Kraken/treasure chest for a trunk-or-treat contest, and delighted in hundreds of trick-or-treaters to that event at my son’s karate studio. Three of us tackled a corn maze on a dazzlingly sunny autumn day. Our adorable one-year-old grandbaby “helped” create a Snoopy-themed fall sign as a first crafty present for his Mama. It was even a blessing to teach an owl and pumpkin-themed paint program where my sweet fourth, fifth, and sixth-grade students created canvas masterpieces outside our local library!
So yes, I miss the days of our noisy brood, scrambling to eat pizza and jump into costumes for the trick-or-treat route. I’m not a fan of too much quiet, but let’s take stock… My teen son is serenading us on guitar by the fire. We witnessed the end of a neighborhood Halloween parade on a morning walk today. We had a lovely visit with our daughter, son-in-law, and one year-old grandbaby, a fun breakfast out with one set of parents, and a great visit this weekend with the other set. Fewer trick-or-treaters means more candy for … just saying… And our week-long, suspense movie marathon awaits…
Next year, we might get to bring grandbabies around our favorite trick-or-treat route in the double-stroller. Parties might be more accessible, post-Covid. Maybe we’ll be competition-bound for a new trunk-or-treat challenge. And the same with Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and other holiday seasons. New traditions await. Who says they have to be squeezed into a single day apiece? I say, celebrate all month! Little traditions make big memories… they bond us as family and friends and keep us warm on difficult days. So amid all the tough news and hard things going on these days, isn’t this an encouraging thought? We all need lots of “somethings” to look forward to!