Weird huh? I mean who celebrates Halloween? Indulge me....
As a kid and even now as an adult, Halloween has always been special to me. As a kid I'd come home from school and hurry up with any homework. I'd don my homemade costume of a pioneer girl, Raggedy Ann, a M&M or whatever my Mom sewed for me. We'd get into the car and drive a few miles to my Grandparent's house in town. Not that we lived out of town, but they lived in a proper city with blocks close together and lots of neighbors.
We'd arrive and as soon as we got out of the car my Grandma would fly out of the front door and tell us to pose for a picture. When that was done we'd run inside to the smell of tacos. When I was an adult I learned just how much taco meat my Grandma made; 10-15 pounds! As a kid all I knew was that the smell of taco meat was enticing. We didn't get tacos at home much because my Dad didn't like them. It was also special because we got to make them ourselves with things like black olives, lots of cheese and crushed up Doritos for the shells. We'd each make our dinner and head to the table to eat.
Inevitably, while eating, the doorbell would start to ring, signalling the start of Trick of Treating. We'd glance at all the costumes and eat quicker, knowing it was our turn next. After saying hello to some of the neighbors that had dropped by to both see us and been seen with their grandkids, we'd head off to collect our share of candy. Up one side of the street, down the other, over to the next block and do it again. The pattern stayed the same every year. And every year you could count the houses that would have "good" candy and "bad candy.
We'd return home with heavy plastic pumpkins or bulging plastic treat bags that snapped at the top. The adults would ask if we had fun and which were the best costumes. We'd yell as we ran through the house to the TV room in the back. There we'd dump out the candy and finger it all. Then we'd start picking out the best ones and the ones that we'd trade away for what we wanted. Sated with candy, we'd sit back and watch the Peanuts Halloween or Charlie Brown Halloween cartoon. Soon it would be time to go home and sleep.
As an adult I still love this day. But for different reasons. I love going to my Grandma's house early to help her set up the taco bar. We sit and talk about life while chopping tomatoes and onions. Once done we sit at the kitchen table, looking out the front window and waiting. We wait for kids to come in cute costumes. We wait for neighbors to come and catch up. We wait for family to arrive with kids all excited. About 15 years ago my Grandma was known for taking pictures of kids in cute costumes. More recently she stopped because she was concerned that parents would be fearful of where to pictures went.
All night long we adults would sit, stand and hand out. Kids would ring the doorbell and we'd take turns answering the door with the massive amount of candy that my Grandma buys. Giving out one item and watching as Grandma opened the door and couldn't help but give out 2 or 3 when it was her turn.
My Grandma is 86, about to be 87 in January. She's had some health scares in the last 18 months. She had a stroke last year. This year she's spent time in and out of the hospital and in a rehabilitative nursing home. She's not able to host Halloween this year, even though it breaks her heart to break the tradition. For me, it's a happy and sad time. Happy because I still enjoy the Halloween spirit and I have a new puppy to dress up in costume (insert evil giggle). Sad because this is the first year that I can remember not being at my Grandma's house the whole night. My sister has decided to continue the tradition at her house, but it's not the same. I'm planning on visiting my Grandma with the puppy in costume. But it's just not the same.
So as many say in various times, hug your Family members and enjoy them in the here and now for you never know when it changes. Happy Halloween to you and yours!