In addition to the wonder of Christmas, Halloween is for the kids. It always has been, and always will remain this way. It must. How is it one day out of a full calendar year can transform entire communities of people from being socially distant, back to engaging once again in the name of the children?
Magic, or sinister? Comical or slightly demented? Just a few of the careful contemplations tossed around the kitchen on All Hallows’ Eve. Costumes shall carefully be prepared, tried on, revised, and then placed thoughtfully back on a hanger to lay in wait for the clock hands to give further instruction later. For many, the day marks one of the most anticipated long-standing traditions of the year. The excitement is palpable throughout the homes of these tiny entrepreneurs as they plan-for, calculate, and then eventually execute their treat collecting strategies.
For a few short hours, lights shine brightly upon walkways, porches are decorated with welcoming messages, and bulbs are deliberately turned on to beckon a hopeful procession of thoughtfully adorned visitors to the stoop. Seconds later, hinged doors are then flung open wide to command a seemingly trivial exchange between two complete parties of strangers. Both of whom would never allow such an occurrence to take place on any other day of the year. Yet on October 31, annually we do it for a few seconds, simply to engage in an expected encounter together.
The well-aged and weary, yield their experiences to the next generation. The young-at-heart smile while looking in the eyes of the hopeful dreamers. The memory-preservers bow down willingly to the current memory-makers. On one side of the door stands reflection, on the other stands the hope for a better tomorrow. Both sides exist on this evening for intrinsic individualized purposes, but neither will exist without the complement of another. It is a reciprocal exchange, all made possible for the price of circus peanuts, or a thin slab of chocolate sugar.
The evening is slightly wondrous when you consider it. For two or three hours, generations alike are reminded of their own life journeys, by the actions of one another. The past, present, and future intersect in a neighborhood doorway, to simply smile.
For it not the persistence of pint-size ghouls, hobgoblins, sports figures, comic book heroes, and future princesses, this day might slip back into as much obscurity as the one before. But I’m certain this won’t ever happen, it just will not be the way of things to come. October’s time-honored tradition will continue on and on for generations. Halloween represents a lot more than simply pretending for a couple of hours while collecting treats as a reward for such determined efforts.
Halloween is not just about the goodies. It is all about the lessons shared amidst prideful attire and well-calculated human contact. A once a year obligation for yesteryear to pass the torch for our youngest to carry forth while forging a new tomorrow. The same traditional cadence throughout time shall continue on for all of the yet unborn cowboys and the caterpillar’s out there waiting on fate to offer up a turn as well.
For this writer, I recall those days with such fond memories. We would wait for weeks and weeks on end with gradually building anticipation, as the special day neared. The time spent carefully planning our costumes, our fellow treaters, and our walking routes were all an investment toward bountiful hauls of miscellaneous sugary goodness. The term “quality over quantity” certainly never applied to the last day of October. For us kids, it was about volume.
Somewhere in each collection container, lay something more though. We just never realized it. With each brightly packaged tangible reward, came the intangible rewards known as tradition and predictability. Both perhaps more valuable and sought-after now than ever.
In this day and age, we need these kids to proceed forth with bags in hand, we truly do. In addition to the confectionary sacks they each grip tightly, also unbeknown to any of them while receiving the Twix, Mr. Goodbar, and Skittles candies collected, they are actually paying it forward while appearing in costume. By giving us back some sense of normalcy in return. As a society, we really, really could use it right now.
On this night when the doorbell rings, bless the vampires, witches, and talking sunflowers. Be reminded by their efforts visiting you to obtain a mere 10 cent piece of candy, we are all in this incredible cycle called life, together. Live in the moment with them and absorb the opportunity for normality.
Later, after all of the porchlights have been turned off and you lay yourself down for a harvest slumber, take note if you hear what sounds to be a beast howling in the night off in the distance. Be very careful. Surely it will just be the autumn exhale of cold wind panting through the forest trees. At least I would hope so.
But if the door suddenly flies open and the wind appears, don’t say I didn’t warn you. After all, anything is possible tonight.
Trick or Treat, world. Stay Safe.