In the wee hours of the morning, as I was going from child to child supplying fresh buckets, Ibuprofen, Gatorade, and cough medicine (I’ll let you guess what we’ve got going at the Wood house right now), I probably should have been dreading which kid would go down next (or worse, which parent!). But instead, I spent my precious brainpower dreading something else…Halloween.
I hate Halloween, and in all honesty, I reserve the word “hate” only for the one or two things that I truly loathe. So trust me, the strong language is accurate and needed to convey my feelings toward the holiday. I’ve always hated Halloween. As I’ve mentioned before, I was a fearful, anxious child, so for me, Halloween was like a sick joke. People walking around in all-too-real zombie costumes was not my idea of a fun holiday…it was a terrible nightmare that everyone but me seemed to enjoy.
Early on, my parents realized that Halloween was not my thing (and really, I think they were probably quite thrilled about that discovery), so I began staying home and handing out candy, which I thoroughly enjoyed for the most part. Our neighborhood was a thriving Trick-Or-Treat community, so I stayed busy, and somehow, scary looking people coming up to my house seemed to be less frightening than going out into the night for me. And as long as I stayed away from television the month of October, I was okay. That worked out pretty well for years.
And now, thankfully, I’ve spent enough time with Jesus on this issue that I’m no longer fearful on Halloween (although I still avoid television during the month of October). I’m sure that maturity and rational thinking have something to do with it too. But, I still hate it. So our policy for the past ten years on Halloween has been that we just don’t celebrate it. Aside from our church fall festival and a Pumpkin Carving party, we just kind of let it pass. Some of that is by default (we live in the country..no trick-or-treaters). But much of that is intentional.
But this year is different. First of all, I have a public schooler this year who has already spent a night awake because of the Halloween-ish things she’s heard from the kids at school. This year, we can’t just glaze over the day as if it didn’t exist. Secondly, James apparently loves Halloween. Though he’s terrified of certain elements of it (with good reason), he was very disappointed to find out that we don’t celebrate it.
And that was why I was thinking about Halloween last night between checking temperatures and administering medicine. We are grafting in this child to our family, but part of that is layering in his past with ours. It’s important to him, so it’s important to us. And that’s where I am right now…how do we incorporate this part of his history into our lives? How do we take a holiday that we’ve always avoided and “redeem” it for our family?
So today, as my crew lays around and tries to keep their minds off being so sickly, I am busy thinking. It’s funny how things that used to be so simple suddenly are not. That’s life I suppose. I’m thinking that an evening at home cuddled up with board games, Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin, and a pizza (maybe even some brownies and candy corn) will be appropriate. Because when it comes down to it, for James, it’s probably not about loving zombies and witches (we know that isn’t the case for him). For him, I’m sure it’s really tradition and the comfort that we find in the predictability of tradition. And really, that sounds like a great excuse to do all those fun things. It’s amazing how much James has brought to our family without even knowing it. I feel like in so many ways, he has breathed life into us, he has pushed us to be intentional, he has quietly encouraged us to make everything count. So, this year, it looks like the Wood family will begin a new Halloween tradition, and I’m actually pretty excited about it.
I’m curious…what does your family do for Halloween?