Ghost of Halloween Past


The days leading to Halloween used to find me busily sewing and crafting and creating.  I’d grudgingly carve jack-o-lanterns and happily bake cupcakes and sneak candy from the stash I’d purchased for trick-or-treaters.  It was a busy time.  The kids would be jumpy with excitement.

Then the inevitable happened and my kids grew up.  This Halloween found me with idle hands (and a bad cold).  Until today, in fact, I hadn’t even managed to locate the fake jack-o-lantern, the one I plug in every year to make the season officially spooky.  The holiday seemed to have lost its magic.

My 14-year old did not want to wear a costume or trick-or-treat or carve a pumpkin.  Instead, she met some friends at Starbucks while I stayed home and worked and her dad participated in our church’s “Trunk or Treat” festivities.  I would have sewn my girl a princess costume and bought her sparkly shoes and a cool trick-or-treat bucket but that’s not really what a 14-year old wants, is it?

So when I saw all the adorable costumed children on Facebook and Instagram, I felt a twinge of sad nostalgia.  How I loved Halloween when my kids were little, the fun of taking them in the dark streets, instituting a rule that they must take turns ringing the doorbell.  (The fights over the doorbells!)  When we lived in Washington, the rain would usually fall and we’d be cold and wet and before we’d even circled the neighborhood, the littlest would be complaining about the heavy bucket.

They’d run up the sidewalks and run back down, thrilled with the dark, the candy and each other. Those were the days.  Then we moved here and I was down to one trick-or-treater, but my girl and I would go out (I in my flip-flops and her in her costume) and circle our palm-tree dotted neighborhood and she’d collect candy while I got sweaty from the warm night.  But no more.

Tonight, my 18-year old son, (formerly known as SuperZach) worked at Pizza Hut delivering pizzas.  He dressed up in his traditional Halloween costume, the character he’s been ever since we moved here:  Santa Claus.  Four years ago, he was Santa for the first time.  He had recently fractured his collarbone, so he donned a Santa robe we had from a previous Christmas.  He answered the door to trick-or-treaters and passed out candy while wearing a sling on his arm.  Ho-ho-ho!

Thus, a tradition was born.  He has been a variant of Santa Claus every year since.  He has been Emo Santa, Gangster Santa, and this year, Pizza Hut Santa.

I miss my little sweet trick-or-treaters, but Pizza Hut Santa is pretty awesome, too.

I guess we have to let go so our hands are open to receive what’s next.  I guess that means I need to let go of the snack-sized Snickers . . .

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