Halloween!

October 31, 2012 | 12 comments
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I really enjoy Halloween. I’ve always liked dressing up and making costumes. Over the years, I’ve learned that the trick to costumes is not complete accuracy, but suggestion. Like a good suspense movie, an audience needs only to be directed. Then they create the full costume in their minds. So my pioneer costume, which I only wear in July, is a regular dress, late 90s cut, but paired with a bonnet and apron that I whipped up out of scrap fabric and a shawl, and it is surprisingly convincing.

Pumpkin carving, too, is another ‘less is more’ type of enterprise. Although there are examples of truly spectacular and detailed carving, the classic jack-o-lantern is simple with easily carved triangle eyes. And that very simplicity is both effective and evocative of all Halloween.

Right now, the best part of Halloween is trick-or-treating. We have grade-school aged children. I don’t care so much about the candy (they may disagree). We don’t go to trunk-or-treats, or hit up the stores in the mall. We walk around our neighborhood, crossing paths with other neighbors who are walking together as families. We see our elderly and homebound neighbors who we’ve helped with decoration and leaf raking. We are welcomed at the doors of people who will never darken the doors of our churches. And for that night, we are a community. On All Hallow’s Eve, we may be dressed in fantastic ensembles, but we are all together saints.

12 Responses to Halloween!

  1. Rachel Whipple on October 31, 2012 at 7:05 am

    Today I’m wearing one of the kids’ Camp Half-Blood hoodies. My 12 year old is all steam-punkified, my 10 year old is tween-goth vampire, and the 5 year old is a spotted-nation (his way of saying dalmatian). What will you wear and do today?

  2. Sam Brunson on October 31, 2012 at 8:49 am

    Our Halloween started Saturday, with the Pumpkins in the Park 5K for me and my wife, and the associated Spooky Sprints for our kids (in costume, of course). My daughters’ schools don’t allow Halloween costumes, so one is wearing her Pac-Man-ish ghost dress, and the other is wearing her Spooky Sprints t-shirts. Tonight, after school, they’ll change into their costumes (Minnie and Mickey Mouse and Clarabelle Cow), and we’ll hit up the (spectacularly decorated, and totally fun) couple blocks just north of us. Plus, Grandma and Grandpa are in town for Halloween. It is one of our favorite holidays of the year!

  3. KLC on October 31, 2012 at 10:15 am

    Rachel, I look back on the time in my family when Halloween almost rivaled Christmas for its excitement and anticipation with real fondness. Halloween for us was exactly as you describe it, a chance to work together as a family on costumes and pumpkins and decorations, a chance to walk our neighborhood together and connect with people we see often and people we see almost never. My youngest is almost 12, my oldest almost 18, and now that time is gone for us. Savor it while you can.

  4. Amira on October 31, 2012 at 10:36 am

    This is exactly why I love Halloween. Thanks, Rachel.

  5. IDIAT on October 31, 2012 at 10:54 am

    #3 – In the same boat, but my two oldest are married. The only thing better than trick or treating with your kids is doing it with your grandkids! Hang in there, and hopefully you’ll get another shot at it sans the stress over costume making.

  6. Kevin Barney on October 31, 2012 at 11:00 am

    I miss having kids young enough to take trick or treating.

  7. Sam Brunson on October 31, 2012 at 11:02 am

    hopefully you’ll get another shot at it sans the stress over costume making

    Or maybe not—my mom has made costumes for my girls for the last three or four years. (Of course, then she comes to town and enjoys trick-or-treating with her grandchildren . . .)

  8. JrL on October 31, 2012 at 11:27 am

    To my chagrin, Halloween falls on a teaching night for me this year. My favorite part of the evening is having neighbors come to the door who otherwise I only see as we pass in cars, raising a few fingers from the steering wheel to indicate that we recognize each other’s cars.

  9. Jax on October 31, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    We took our kids to the local retirement/care center and handed out presents (no food allowed) to the residents. It was the first time the kids have done this and were hesitant at first not knowing how they would be received; but the residents loved to see them dressed up and smiled wide when they came in. The kids opened up and talked to people and were great… I loved that they enjoyed serving and giving to others.

  10. Mark B. on October 31, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    With the hurricane and all, I haven’t shaved since Sunday. That’ll have to be my costume this year.

  11. Chadwick on November 1, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    Rachel, my sentiments exactly. I love Halloween because of the family and neighbor time. I could care less about the treats because our household usually has a smattering of sweets around on any given day anyway.

    I think Halloween is dying because communities are not as close as they used to be, thanks to globalization, especially in urban areas.

    My wife makes the costumes every year, the Great Pumpkin comes Halloween morning with a new book for the kids (left in the pumpkins we carve the night before), and we usually watch some holiday shows together as well. At least that part will always stick around, regardless of how the community may evolve.

  12. Rachel Whipple on November 2, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Oooh, I love the Great Pumpkin. We’ve watched the Charlie Brown special with the kids, but never thought of having the Pumpkin leave evidence of its visit.

    Jax, I like your idea of going to a retirement center or assisted living facility. Anytime I’ve gone to one, either as a child myself or with my children now, the residents always seem to be very happy to see us, and generally, the shorter the visits, the better.