May I begin by sharing with you a recent marital conversation.
Me – Now Joel, please do not your roll your eyes, but this year, we are celebrating Halloween.
Joel – Rolls eyes. Rachel, you know you’re not American, right? What even is Halloween? What are we actually celebrating?
Me – Look Joel, nobody really knows what Halloween is, but it’s important we don’t dwell on that. Because, well, there are COSTUMES and JACK-O-LANTERNS and TRICK-OR-TREATING. And we are shaping the first chapters of our child’s STORYBOOK, remember?
Joel – Silent. Staring.
Me – Silent. Staring.
Joel – Okay, great. Let’s throw a Bar Mitzvah party too and call that part of our child’s storybook.
You guys, the whole idea of Halloween, I’ve decided, is totally my specialty: To enjoy what we have and create what we don’t.
We don’t have Fall and big old maple leaves and pumpkin farms. We don’t have streets filled with trick-or-treating kids, dressed in cute Halloween costumes, shouting excitedly to each other as they scurry from house to house. We don’t carve pumpkins and fill them with candles, perching them on our doorsteps for our neighbours to enjoy.
What we do have, though, is determination to make tradition an overriding factor in our family’s story. What we do have is the desire to create rich memories for our children — to proudly hand them the glorious invitation to play.
We now know that 95% of what a child learns is through direct experience, leaving only 5% to formal instruction. What children learn is what they experience and what they experience most is the way adults behave. So to me, Halloween is a great big excuse for our children to watch us breathe life into life. To make moments special. To show them things are what we make of them and that holiday traditions are important because they are a celebration of family, an opportunity to use our imagination, and an invitation to, for one day, partake in the glorious world of childhood and pretend.
Small children are part of our lives for such a short amount of time, and I want to savour this time I have with them. I want to feel their wonder as my own. I want to drink in the magic of imagination and fun alongside them and use it as a way to remember that life is to be enjoyed and never to be taken too seriously.
So, we’ve been Halloween-ing our home and brushing off Joel’s groans with a “You’ll thank me one day, Chip.” We’ve been decorating pumpkins and planning our first ever Annual Halloween Pumpkin Carving Party which will be making its glorious debut next weekend. All Ella’s teeny tiny friends will arrive on our doorstep, smiling their big, shy, excited grins that something special is happening and for one day, we’ll traipse around with them having Halloween scavenger hunts and carving out pumpkins and getting our hands covered with paint.
And when Halloween night comes around, we’ll dress up and snap pictures and pull wagons and trick-or-treat and see it as a festive night full of imaginative details, a whole lot of fun and a chance to connect with our community.