Another year and another Halloween. It seems this lesson does not want to leave me alone. Either that or I am learning a new lesson: there are some things you just cannot escape.
I thought this year again that we would have a choice with whether or not to get involved in Halloween. Turned out that the choice really was not about the involvement or lack thereof, but rather in the extent to which and in which we got involved.
From the moment I learned at Parents' Night at JR's school that they are organizing a Halloween parade my mind had been spinning on how to void it. When I realized there was no escape, I turned my thoughts to how not to get into it feet first, not spend a huge amount of disposable income on costumes, decoration, and candy, and at the same time not deny JR the inclusion and the fun that comes with October 31st.
Instead of an elaborate dress-up feat, JR donned on wings and a tutu and held a wand; three dollars well spent at the store. She had hearts and flowers on her cheeks and stars in her hair; Mama's hidden talents well used in front of the mirror. She got transformed into her own magical self appearing as a fairy; JR's being came shining through.
Instead of elaborate decorating our house and front yard, we decorated pumpkins. JR, Yousef and I used markers, paint, glue and sparkles turning them into multicolored displays. JR and Baba used carving knives and turned them into jack-o-lanterns. Our other neighbors had extra flickering lights and Jr was not too shy to ask to borrow them for our front door handrail.
And instead of handing out treats outside our garage door either by the light of a bonfire or a jack-o-lantern, as we learned is now the habit weather permitting, we decided to take a casual family walk. We did not go trick or treating, but walked in our regular clothes and remarked on the costumes going by. We surveyed decorations, remarked on costumes, chatted with people we know, introduced ourselves to others we didn't yet meet. We even visited a haunted house constructed out of a garage complete with music and smoke for ambiance. JR and Yousef got handed candy, stickers and toys just because they were out.
We did not escape Halloween. We did not avoid Halloween. We did not run away from it as fast as we could. We did not leave on our road trip as we had planned. And, we did not lock ourselves in our house like we thought we would do. Instead, we found ways to render this day a family event with our own set of rules, and traditions. We continued reinforcing what we do and don't do with and on Halloween without denying our kids their part in the day. JR had a good time, Yousef got his first taste, and we all created happy memories.