I am having Halloween letdown. I look forward to this holiday for 364 days, and then it is over so quickly. It is by far my favorite of all the holidays. For years (waaaaayyyyy before I had kids), I have been digging through my basement/closets/garage to pull out my decorations and then thoughtfully hanging my beloved black and orange around my home. Each year without fail I find myself adding to my collection. As my kids have gotten older, there has been a definitive shift in our theme from the once sweet happy ghosts and pumpkins to the creepier spiders and witches. I dream of the day when we as a family can go all out and hang up the grotesque goblins. I love the magic of dressing up and helping my kids create their dream costumes.
I have two theories to explain my unending devotion to this holiday. The first stems from my childhood. I am the kid of a dentist. While I do not remember my father being completely restrictive on sugary items, I do visibly cringe just a bit when I see a smile in need of some help. It would be almost impossible to imagine that there is not some deep rooted psychological messages that I am not so secretly rebelling against.
My second theory relates to the fact that I am Jewish and was brought up in a somewhat observant home. There was no Hannukah Harry at my house and we didn’t get to decorate a Hannukah bush. Hannukah was about the festival of lights and not eight presents. I suffer from some serious Christmas envy, and on Halloween I feel I can be a full participant. Kooky becomes cool, and I am totally onboard.
There is also something about the taste of holiday chocolate. It is significantly more delicious and magical than regular chocolate. I don’t know why…it just is. I have also somehow managed to convince myself that walking around the neighborhood on Hallows Eve burns enough calories to justify all of those candy bars and lollipops I have been eating. Please do not try to explain to me how that is impossible, I am perfectly comfortable in my state of denial.
While all of this is good stuff, I have really come to appreciate in recent years how one totally over-commercialized evening can fully and completely bring families and neighborhoods together. We walked our streets with some great friends. Our kids waited for each other at each house, said thank you, and traded candy with each other along the way. Those working at jobs out of the house were able to come home early and join in the excitement. I was able to give a hug to one of my kid’s preschool teachers who lives around the corner from us, but I rarely get to see. I had my once a year reunion with another Canadian who also lives near by. We lived just blocks away from each other in mid-town Toronto, and she is the only one who loves Smarties like I do (Smarties are Canadian M&Ms but with a harder shell and better colors). I look forward to knocking on her door and laughing about how lucky my kids are because they do not have to cover up their costumes with winter coats. I love coming home watching my kids strip out of their costumes and dump their candy on the floor to be sorted.
Throughout the afternoon and evening I was texting and emailing with my brother. We sent each other pics of our carved out pumpkins and of our kids in costume; both the pumpkins and kids had giant grins. He has finally stopped stealing my candy, and commiserated with me at the end of the night about our mutual belly aches. We live thousands of miles apart but were able to still be so close. Those few hours lived up to all I wanted it to be, and I am already dreaming of the fun we will have again next year.