My ten year old a few weeks back announced he did not want to go trick or treating this year. Already my mind screamed! He is growing up too fast. Put the breaks on. Stop the train!
As we conversed further I came to learn he’s really never been that in to it. In fact, if I stretch my memory back we never have gone out for huge amounts of time or gathered buckets full of candy. His first year out he went to two houses. He was so excited that folks had given him candy at the door he rushed home to eat all of it in one go.
When I was a child, the challenge was to push yourself to hit as many houses as possible to hit the max candy load. This was the one and only time of year that we could collect ridiculous amounts of candy with our parents permission. Even if the eating of it afterwards was policed that night was a free for all candy gathering binge.
My son says, “will you just by me some candy I like? Then I don’t have to go to all those strangers houses and get candy I don’t like.” Bam! Yes yes I can.
Then there is the costuming. I asked but don’t you want to dress up in a cool costume. One sideways glance at the overflowing dress up bins in the living room and an eyebrow lift were his response. We dress up in costumes all the time! He has been in costumed character for more years then not. Age 2-3 he was a firefighter, 3-4 Murray the Wiggle and 4-5 Mike Dirnt, bass guitar player for Green Day. And then after that the characters were shorter term but just as fully immersed.
So when I break it down I see a boy who is comfortable costuming whenever required to fully bring an experience to life for himself, who has access to his favorite candy whenever he wants. Knowing this I can see how the appeal for the trick or treat part of Halloween seems ridiculous. Why would he want to participate cause someone outside of himself deemed this the night he go door to door to gather candy in a costume.
He still wants to collect and carve pumpkins and eat Witches Brew (and if we were not living where we are there would be a bon fire going on.) And this is when I realize, this moment isn’t full of sadness or loss. This is a reflection of how our unique additions, as a family, to holiday celebrations are where the true magic lies. Halloween will forever be about bon fires, pumpkins and a hot pot of Witches brew.