Halloween

What are your thoughts on Halloween? Personally, I have never enjoyed it. Even as a child, when there were few concerns regarding safety, abductions or foul play, the excitement seemed to elude me. The early dinners of tomato soup and grilled cheese were one of my favorites. However, bundling on the layers under an unwanted costume to stay protected from the cold Midwestern weather held no appeal. Once dressed, and with masks in place and steaming from our breath, we were shooed out of the house. We gathered full sized candy bars, popcorn balls, and pennies dispensed by neighbors before complete darkness descended and we could make our way home. I would wander the streets with my siblings and neighborhood friends with far less enthusiasm than was expected.  Dragging my increasingly weighty pillowcase of goodies, I wanted nothing more than to get home, dump it on the ground, sort the haul and get some sleep.

Yes, small children are adorable in their outfits, but really, what parent in their right mind allows children to go to strangers houses, scream “Trick or Treat,” and ask for candy? When I had daughters of my own, I worked valiantly to hide my disdain for Halloween. I did not want to minimize their excitement for the holiday. I painstakingly made creative costumes for them each season. Year after year I sat before a sewing machine making devils, clowns, Care Bears, Rainbow Brite, Captain Hook, and even a Kangaroo. After they lost interest in “trick or treating,” I was no longer required to hide my lack of interest and could breathe a sigh of relief.

Yet it wasn’t until my husband abandoned me that I completely turned my back on Halloween. I found myself at a costume party in the home of a friend. I was extremely apprehensive about attending this event. It was my first outing where I would be single in a room filled with couples. I had declined the offers to attend several times. Yet my friend was supportive and persistent. “Come. You know everyone, and you’re always a welcome guest.” There was nothing I wanted to do less than attend a Halloween party. However, her kind insistence that I attend wore me down and made me feel confident that I could accomplish this next step. I did, however, make a promise to myself and the hostess: “I will make only a brief appearance.”

I was the first guest to arrive, and a glass of wine was poured and placed in my hand. Admiring the new kitchen renovation, I commented on what a difference the changed layout made in the space. I clutched my glass of wine, continued to exchange idle chitchat with her and her spouse, and believed that everything was going smoothly. I marveled at how well I was doing in the situation as more and more neighbors and friends arrived. I admired the creativity of their costumes.I was particularly impressed with the husband who owned a nursery and appeared as a watering can, while his wife was dressed as a flowering plant. My confidence began to diminish, however, as we approached the moment to document the festivities with a picture. I was flooded with memories as each person scrambled to pair with their spouse. I stood there alone.

Suddenly, I experienced unexpected shortness of breath, dizziness, and weakness in my knees as I found myself surrounded by couples with whom we had shared so much. Mingling once again with people who knew me only as one-half of a couple was too much for me to handle. A concerned friend escorted me to my vehicle. I was experiencing my first panic attack. It was possibly the most physically frightening experience I have ever had. It had nothing to do with witches, ghosts, or goblins. Yet it did coincide with my least favorite recognized American holiday. I therefore, respectfully remain less than enthusiastic regarding the idea of small children ringing my doorbell and asking for candy. I like my holidays without the tricks and with only the treats.

How about you? Please let me know your thoughts on or reflections of your own Halloween experiences. I love having insight into how others think about these things.

Please share!

10 thoughts on “Halloween”

  1. As I child I loved running around in some homemade costume that I made with my older sister and neighbors. My mother was always so busy just maintaining a household of 7 children (my mother had 4 children and she also took in her 3 youngest siblings when her mother passed away at the age of 42 leaving a 4, 3, and a 3 month old). Needless to say, our household was busy and we older kids always just took it upon ourselves to be creative on own. Somehow we just managed. We never had the cutest outfits and just ran around the neighborhood collecting as much candy as we could. It was fun in the early days but after a while I never really enjoyed dressing up and always trying to come up with a “cool” outfit to wear especially as we got older and went to parties as adults. It is not my favorite “holiday”. I think costumes are just a little overrated. Much more enjoy smaller parties with good friends that just enjoy hanging out now.

    1. Cathy,
      I am so glad to hear that I am not the only person that does not get excited over Halloween! I agree with you about gathering with a few close friends rather than an “over the top” extravaganza! It is so hard to find quality time with friends! I hope to enjoy increasing amounts of time to share with my friends in the not too distant future!
      Thank you for sharing your feelings. I appreciate your support!
      Kathryn

  2. I would say that I like Halloween, not LOVE Halloween. My kids were always so excited for it….all of the planning of the costumes, the route they would take, etc. It was a lot of work at times to get homework done, dinner completed and costumes on…all before 6:00.
    Now I just enjoy seeing all of the kids…little and big. I think back to my kids and the fun they had. I think ahead to my beautiful granddaughter and how much fun she will have. It puts a smile on my face just to think about the past Halloweens and the future Halloweens.

    1. Karen,
      Thanks for your perspective! It seems thus far, no enthusiastic support for the holiday-except for the pleasure of the occasion for the children!
      I appreciate your input and support-will await further votes!
      Kathryn

  3. You were very brave for attending that Halloween party! It’s got to be very hard joining back in to neighborhood parties where it’s mostly couples attending. You have come a long way, my friend! 🙂 I was never a big fan of Halloween, but now my 5 year old daughter loves it so I have to join in. PS: Love the Rainbow Brite costume!

    1. Shannon,
      Thank you so much for your response and support! It seems the children continue to win our favor for the celebration of this holiday! I thought Rainbow Brite was pretty clever until I read Stasia’s comment about a flapper dress made from a towel!
      Kathryn

  4. Your post brought back memories of Halloween evenings from my childhood. I always liked wearing the costumes. I wanted to show them off when trick or treating, but instead had to cover up with a coat due to the cold weather.

    1. Mary-Ann,
      Thank you for your response! You will be added to the “thumbs up” for Halloween celebrations! I remember growing up in Chicago and wearing heavy coats over my costumes!
      I appreciate your support,
      Kathryn

  5. Thank you for sharing such tender memories. I hope future Halloweens can offer new and more fun experiences.
    Homemade costumes, loads of yummy ‘store bought’ treats, and school carnivals are my best childhood memories of Halloween. My favorite costume was a flapper dress my mom made with a towel and rows of fringe. How much fun to twirl with those rows of fringe!

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

    1. Stasia,
      Thank you for your support and for sharing your happy memories! I would never have thought of making a flapper dress from a towel! However, I will keep it in mind if ever called upon to make another costume!
      I will put your vote as a “thumbs up” for Halloween!
      Kathryn

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