I am thinking back to Halloweens of the past. Our neighborhood was filled with children, and our kids ran among them. Halloween back then was held on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, well before the sun would set. We are a rural community, and without streetlights, it only made sense to “Trick or Treat” in the daylight. I can remember the anticipation, the excitement, the preparations for the big event. I can remember putting on the make up, taping up the costumes, sending them out the door into the crisp fall air to mingle with friends and neighbors.
I remember standing at the door the year that our middle child was fresh from the hospital with pneumonia and asthma. He stood by my side, his dyed towel cape trailing down his back, as we handed out candy to the troops of kids who came by the house.
I can remember going out with my three children, laughing and smiling at friends and neighbors. I can remember pushing a stroller around our streets with a tiny “ghost” inside.
I am remembering what it felt like when the years went by, and the town began to embrace the more typical 5-7 Trick or Treat hours of bigger places. I remember standing by the door, the big bowl of candy in my arms. I remember greeting the little ones from the street, handing them chocolate as I exclaimed with delight over every costume. I remember the grins, and the cheeky jokes. I remember the somber stares of the smallest goblins who were still not entirely sure that this whole thing was a good idea.
As the year passed by, though, the little ones in our neighborhood grew up. They moved out and moved on.
They left Halloween behind.
It’s been years since I last had a little “Trick or Treat” called at my door. It’s been years since I last oohed and aahed over a tiny princess in her sparkly costume. It’s been years since we have had a real Halloween here.
I haven’t carved a pumpkin in quite a while.
Why should I? I don’t think that it will chase away evil spirits. There are no little hands to scoop out the seeds or light the candle. If I buy a pumpkin now, its to make a tasty and sophisticated pumpkin soup.
I miss those days.
A long time ago, when this blog was new and I was still grieving my empty nest, I wrote a post about missing the Halloweens of the past. You can read it here, if you are so inclined. It’s called “Haunted“.
As the years went by, and I became more adjusted to my empty nest and to my role as the older lady instead of the young Mom, I learned to embrace the pleasures of being a teacher. I get to enjoy the kids, love the kids, celebrate with the kids. But I don’t have to deal with the braces, the stomach aches, the forgotten homework or the failed tests. Its really pretty sweet.
Today I dressed up as a moose (in honor of the camp song that we learned this month at Camp Merrowvista.) In an homage to our trip, my colleagues dressed as a Penguin and a Jelly Fish. The kids got the humor right away. They sang all three Camp Songs as soon as they saw us at the door.
It was pretty hilarious to teach about the Age of Exploration while dressed as a “Great Big Moose”. They laughed, I laughed, all was right with the world.
I went through the day today being reminded, over and over again, of what it is that makes childhood so special, so wonderful, so fleeting. I talked about Christopher Columbus as my moose antlers bounced up and down on my head. I watched a child in a bacon costume writing an essay on his laptop. I conferenced with a girl in a vampire costume as we edited her story.
The kids were fantastic. Funny, silly, respectful and well mannered. I had a fabulously fun day, surrounded by happy children. I remember what it felt like to be a child in a costume. I remembered what it felt like to be the mother of a child in a costume.
Thank you to my class. It was a fun and silly and nostalgic day for me! You make it so much fun to come to work.
And now I must say thank you and “bear with me!” to those who are reading this little blog. I have decided to push myself a bit (to enter my “growth zone”, in the words of my students) and to join the crazy folks of NaNoWriMo. I have never written a novel. I have only written a few short stories. Mostly, I write these little stream of consciousness blog posts. But I have had a story bouncing around inside my skull for a long time now. It needs to get out of there. So. I will spend the next thirty days trying valiantly to put my story into 50,000 words and into a novel format. Wish me luck. I’m sure gonna need it!
I hope to see you all on the other side of this crazy endeavor!