What is it about major holidays that makes me want to blog? Two birthdays, the first day of second grade, and Thanksgiving are all well behind us, but before Christmas hits I had to take this chance to write about what may be my favorite 2015 holiday yet — Halloween!
Before you proceed thinking I’m some spider web-crazed, witch hat-wearing fanatic, let me tell you about how Halloween went for me as a kid: there’s this photo at my mother’s house of me, standing next to the Angel Gabriel that is my brother at our church’s annual alternative to a halloween party, The Hallelujah Harvest. We’re wearing tinsel-halos and wings and have silver face paint, naturally, and we’re standing next to some pretty notorious Bible characters, like Moses or Abraham, or Ruth or something….honestly, they could have been angels too. Its all one big mess of drapey fabrics and face paint at this point in my memory.
Growing up I was never allowed to trick or treat, not even once, but given the stories my parents would tell me of nights filled with razor-laced candy and rampant Freddie Krueger costumes on the streets, that was A-OKAY with me. I was already an anxious child, so when my mom told me about the uptick in kidnappings of children who always seemed to be “right around my age” every October, I would have nightmares all freaking month. I don’t think they were trying to make me a paranoid adult, I’m sure they were just hoping to reduce my chances of joining a coven or something. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED, MOM!
As a teenager my paranoia about Halloween faded to dispassion; I couldn’t care less when the 31st rolled around. I only dressed up a handful of times in college, and was genuinely annoyed whenever someone mentioned the date towards the end of October, knowing all anyone would be talking about is what they were dressing up as or where they’d go to get wasted that weekend (oh wait, that was all of college in general). I just thought Halloween was such a bore! And I could never see the point of all this fuss around a day that didn’t involve presents.
When Lola came around I had to start thinking about the boring, useless holidays in a different way. I definitely had legit concerns about a pack of wild children running around the neighborhood asking strangers for candy — which, last time I checked is still kid taboo, right? — but I realized I couldn’t keep her inside forever and who knows, maybe there’s a little bit of fun to be had around this silly holiday. Maybe it could be harmless?
Me & Lola in 2011, at Lola & Ellie’s Halloween Extravaganza — Aileen if you’re reading this, I still think that was the best party ever — I demand a repeat!
We kept it inside for Lola’s first few years of Halloween, opting for parties with lots of kids and friends and family instead of trick or treating. When she turned 5 we ventured door-to-door, but I still insisted there would be no scary costumes or movies to haunt her dreams; instead I wanted to paint Halloween in the light of it being just a day, one where we dress up, have parties at school, carve funny pumpkins, and share treats with our friends and neighbors. It doesn’t have to be terrifying, and in downplaying the scarier elements of Halloween, we put the emphasis on imaginary play and fellowship — and lo and behold, it’s become one of our most anticipated days of the year!
2013, six year old Lola in her favorite black cat costume… MEOW
We recently discovered our block does a KILLER party for Halloween each year. All of our neighbors come out, somebody fires up the grill, and the kids can play in the middle of the road because of my amazing friend Mary who works some magic getting the city of Minneapolis to close off our street for the party! She’s actually made of magic, that Mary.
That’s Mary, queen of the block party (and the 80’s hair)
It’s fun to spend time with some of our favorite neighbors, and to put faces to the ones we don’t know so well. And it’s Linden Hills, so somebody
usually always puts up a bounce house!
New traditions, fun parties, and a sweet kid have turned this silly/useless little holiday into one of my favorite days of the whole year. Kids grow up so fast that the way I see it, Halloween is just one more reason for Lola to have fun with her friends, dress up, and stay little just a teeny tiny bit longer.
I think Halloween is a wonderful excuse to stay little, don’t you?
The spider web-crazed fanatic wearing the witch hat 😉
…And yes, I have a light-up skirt to complete the ensemble!