All Hallow’s Eve

Halloween has always been my least favorite holiday. As a child, I approached it with a stomach dropping sense of dread. It wasn’t fear of the ghosts and goblins purported to be on the loose. It was the expectation to dress up in costume and go out “begging” for candy that brought me to my knees in terror.

I have no idea where my aversion to costumes and trick or treating arose. It’s possible that my inherent shyness was at the root of it. Wearing a costume made me feel self-conscious, and going up to someone’s front door, banging on it, and yelling “Trick or Treat” (while wearing the aforementioned self-consciousness producing costume) was just too much for my sensitive little psyche.

So I dreaded the holiday every year, mostly because of the peer pressure. None of my school friends could understand my antipathy. How could I pass up an opportunity to get free candy just handed to me for no reason?

But I could and I did, year after year. As I got older, their amazement turned to scorn, and even my closest friends weren’t above taunting me for staying inside with a book while they roamed the streets. My mother was hard pressed to explain it to the neighbors, who probably thought my failure to join in the Halloween parade was part of her legendary overprotectiveness. After all, what kid voluntarily stays in the house on Halloween night when the entire neighborhood is crawling with kids and free candy?

My son’s attitude toward the holiday was a polar opposite. He was three years old on his first full-fledged Halloween, and dressed as a cowboy with his six-shooter holstered proudly on his side. He would have stopped at nothing to get to every house on our street and fill his little sack with candy. There was one darkened house where the owners were obviously away or not interested in feeding the neighborhood’s sugar addictions. Undeterred, he marched around to the back door to see if he could rouse someone, while I stood at the curb cringing.

Over the years since my childhood – and even my son’s childhood – Halloween has become an extremely popular holiday. People in our area decorate their houses with lights, huge inflatable pumpkins, and scary scenery. There are a couple of places we pass on our morning walks where I actually avert my eyes to avoid a very realistic corpse dangling from a tree.

Personally, I find these kinds of displays in poor taste. But then, I don’t love Halloween.

I’m no longer afraid of the holiday, at least not like I once was. It’s easy to avoid now- none of the houses on our street even give out candy. There are no sidewalks here, and the houses are far apart and set back from the road, making it more effort than its worth when there are much better places just across the main road at the end of the street. If I were to mark the day at all, it would more likely be as All Saints Day on November 1, the Christian holiday of remembrance for those who have died, especially during the past year. In fact, we did that at our church yesterday, calling special attention to the Memorial Wall where the names of several hundred departed church members have been inscribed over the past 25 years. Our minister read the “roll call” of those who have gone on to The Church Triumphant (which I think is a very fine expression.)

So tonight I’ll be inside in my favorite costume – my fuzzy flannel pants and a thermal tee shirt or a pair of medical scrub sets purchased from

.

Of course there will be treats – maybe some popcorn or chips and dip, two of my favorite salty addictions. I’ll curl up tight with a good book and tonight’s episode of Dancing With the Stars.

No tricks. Not one.

How about you? Do you love Halloween? How do you celebrate?

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16 thoughts on “All Hallow’s Eve

  1. Your Halloween night sounds perfect to me. What will you read? I used to be like your son on Halloween. I was desperate for candy. Would trick or treat for hours and hours if my parents would let me.

    • Melissa, I got my “real” copy of You Are My Only today! (I had the galley, but I’m re-reading the real thing 🙂 That’s definitely what I’ll be reading tonight.

  2. I don’t recall loving it as a child… I was probably more indifferent than anything. I specifically remember being 8 years old and realizing that’s the age when people stop thinking you’re a cute trick-or-treater… that you’re too old. In my adult life, I’ve only dressed up for Halloween a handful of times. It’s a lot more fun with kids. This is the second year we’ve gone with a “family theme.” This is our first year on a cul-de-sac full of kids, so we decorated and all that. I think I enjoy giving out candy the most, sitting on the porch and drinking wine (when I’m not pregnant of course!)

    • I actually enjoyed it a lot with my son. He loved getting dressed up and was very sociable when he was young so he’d engage people in conversation. Our neighborhood had lots of elderly people and they made a big fuss over him 🙂

      And I’ll have fun when it’s Connor’s turn, too! lol Just don’t make me dress up!

  3. All holidays were tough for me as a kid. Ignoring them can be freeing, and so can creating something new. My kids and their friends treat candy like treasure. They look forward to this day for months. At times that’s been hard for me, but this year I’m planning to hand out candy and enjoy seeing my neighbour kids’ joy.

    • When you’ve had a bad experience with something, it is good to be able to do it over and make it your own. And when it’s something your kids enjoy, that helps make up for bad memories.

  4. Yes, some of the decorations have become a bit overblown, but I still love Halloween. It was most fun when my daughter was little and we made a huge ritual out of the choosing and carving of the pumpkin, the creation of the costume, and being able to go around with friends.

    I have treats to hand out, and hope that the children come. I so love to see their imaginations at work, and the joy on their faces!

  5. For me, Halloween was always fun as a kid, FREE CANDY!! WHOOO HOOOO.

    Did I mention that there was something about candy involved here?

    We live in a large neighborhood and we used to get a couple of hundred kids, but, there are now a lot of big mall type giveaways and we probably only get about 30 to 40 now.

    I do enjoy seeing the kids, and, like Angie, a lovely glass of Cabernet sure makes the evening fun.

    The lovely Miss TK and I actually bought real costumes this year and went to a HUGE party Saturday night. The lady that throws this party has about 200 plus guests and she preps the house for about 3 months, it is unbelievable and everyone goes all out with their costumes. We had gone last year and that was probably the first Halloween party we had gone to in 20 years. We will keep going to this one because it is a lot of good friends and makes for a great night.

    Oh yeah, you mentioned you didn’t like Halloween, oh well, as Emily Litela would say….”Never Mind”

    • I love it when other people have fun, though! You all clearly enjoyed yourselves, so more power to ya! And I really enjoy seeing people in costume…just don’t like to do it myself.

  6. Oh, gosh. Halloween was wonderful! We had parties in school, usually with CUPCAKES!!! And we bobbed for apples, and made caramel apples and taffy, and playing pin the stem on the pumpkin.

    And trick or treating was the highlight of the day. We went in groups of kids, with the big ones taking care of the little ones. No parents came along – their job was to hand out the candy. We got more than candy, of course. My favorites were the popcorn balls – homemade, and wrapped in paper, and the homemade fudge. Dangerous to eat something unpackaged? How silly – we’d been watching Mrs. Wilsterman make those popcorn balls for a week!

    One year I was a cowgirl. I remember being a ballet dancer, a witch and something that involved roller skates.

    Would I do it now, as an adult? Nope – Halloween is for kids. I can’t think of anything more boring than a room full of drunks in rented costumes. 😉

  7. As a child, my parents never allowed us kids to go out and participate in Halloween. They did turn on the light and buy candy to pass out to the other children that came to the door. As we grew older they let us be the one to answer the door and pass out the candy. What can I say, we did not have much of a childhood. I guess you could say that Halloween can come and go and I would not notice it.

    • I’m sorry you don’t have good memories of Halloween. Most kids do love it, and I love watching the little ones have fun. It wasn’t my idea of a good time, but I was sort of a strange little kid in many ways! lol

  8. What a fine costume! This is a thoughtful post that really brings a good spin on an old holiday, one I’d never thought of! Well, it’s over now! But if it was me, I’d keep that costume handy!

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