I remember when Halloween was a time of fun, to “make” costumes, have a bon fire and roast marshmallows and gather as a community and then trick or treat in the community houses…. people you knew. I also remember when the treats were homemade…popcorn balls, brownies, cookies, candied or Carmel apples, etc wrapped in cellophane paper and we as the children got to enjoy making the treats and then going out and trick or treating and seeing what other houses made.
image from theyummymummy.blogspot.com
It was a time of innocent childhood when I was little and even still when my sons were little. It was shortly after my sons passed the age of wanting to go trick or treating that this little holiday started to change. There were ghosts back then but they appeared more like Casper the friendly ghost. I remember making my son’s by putting a motorcycle helmet with chin strap on his head and laying a sheet over him and cutting out eyes and mouth . I can remember making hobo costumes and other simple costumes. I can even remember wrapping my sons with strips of sheet to make mummies and putting red on places on bandages and making them look like zombies but not the extreme extreme blood and guts we see today with dead body parts strewn around the yards and tombstones.
image from studentz.squidoo.com
What a time of innocence and joy and coming home to dump your bag on the kitchen table to show off what you had gotten. The smell of bonfires was in your hair, sticky fingers from roasted marshmallows and there were kids everywhere with parents walking and talking together and it was a family night. There was no talk of satanic cults, Druids, no blood and guts in people’s yards or body parts or tombstones. It was a grand time for all. I never even heard of Halloween being a satanic holiday until more recent times. Do we adults turn things into something they are not?
And then one day, we the people let commercialism take over just as it has done every other holiday and let it take the holiday away from being a family fun event and turned it into a huge Hollywood production of some horror flick or award for the “best” (what a joke) costume as everything from sexually oriented french maid costumes for four year old girls to extreme blood and guts all over the yard has become the norm. No longer can we trust the people our children go to trick or treat at unless we really know them because there are so many sex predators out there and many do not have the restriction on them saying they can not hand candy out to children. Some people are just mean and do things like put needles in their homemade goodies or other atrocious items. What has the world come to?
One of the things I love here in small town USA is that the old spirit of Halloween is still very much alive. We have about a hundred come to our house on Halloween and son and I enjoy it tremendously…seeing the neighbors and the kids and even the parents that dress up with their kids. It is wonderful and a time of pure joy. Son lights up the ramp and puts out the old fashioned ghost and cat that blow up and glow and has all the jack-o-lanterns and a bowl full of candy. And Daisy and I sit inside watching the kids come up in their costumes through the glass storm door. Son enjoys standing outside and watching them going up and down the street. And even Daisy gets involved as she loves to wear her shirts and she has her special Halloween shirt on for today.
I believe it is time we quit letting commercialism ruin our holidays and take them back and make them like they used to be…special and inexpensive holidays that we all enjoy. What happened to the days of the Sears Wish book where we looked at the pictures until they were worn from our little fingers and got to pick out “ONE” present that we really liked and then hope that Santa heard us? Christmas is a little less than two months away but already the stores are advertising it and many people will go deep in debt to buy and buy for the holiday season. Son and I quit doing the commercial Christmas about ten years ago. It was the best thing we ever did. To those we give to, we give one…yes, just one…thoughtful gift of something we know they really like and the rest is homemade goodies that we enjoy cooking together. Everyone rushes into the stores and scoops up all the stuff for presents never really thinking about what they are giving. How many shampoo and bathroom sets have you bought just because you did not even know what the person liked? And we are training our children to believe that it is all about the gifts.
Son and I have found that preparing for the holiday was the most fun. Putting up the decorations, cooking the food, playing the music and just being together. We learned last year as we made the Thanksgiving meal together that we enjoyed that probably more than the eating. It was time well spent. We had to cook in stages because I was not strong enough to sit up all day but we cooked together and had a grand time. And this Halloween we are making Carmel apple slices together…to take to church…as a family project. While I can not put up the decorations, I am still part of it, sitting and getting the things out of the box to hand to son. Make your own holiday and do not let the stores and all the ads on TV rule in your house. And make it a special event that is remembered long after the holiday is gone and the gift wrapping thrown away and the toys are broken or lost or the presents are shoved in a “re-gift” drawer to hand to someone the next year. My sons still talk about holidays and how we did things together and making the costumes for Halloween. They still remember those outfits and today I find many children can not even tell you what they wore the year before.
Wishing you all a very special and blessed Halloween and I pray that it is a good one and that the little children make you smile as you catch their enthusiasm. I have realized that my ability to imagine is what has kept me going all these years of sickness with chronic illness and pain and all the surgeries. I can imagine myself anywhere I want to be…on the beach…dressed up once again as a hobo to walk my kids around for trick-or-treating.. whatever I want to distract me from being sick. Let your imaginations go this holiday season and your child enthusiasm come alive and just enjoy the holiday.
image from www.sodahead.com
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