Life Narrated

Halloween traditions

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Halloween is almost here. What will your family do Tuesday night? Over the years I have learned that families handle this day very differently. Some families go all out, adorning the yard with a host of spooky decorations. I’ve seen complete graveyards, spider webs, zombie statues, witches and the like. Other families choose not to acknowledge the day at all, feeling more comfortable not delving into anything related to the day. My family has always fallen somewhere in between.

I grew up attending Pleasant Hill Baptist Church on Troup Highway. As a little girl, we always attended the church carnival to play games and get loads of candy. I created most of my costumes from things we had at home. I don’t think we had a single sheet in the house that didn’t have eye holes cut into it. When my great-grandmother died and left a giant box of gaudy costume jewelry, I used that to create a great gypsy costume for a couple of years. I remember at least one or two years when the church required everyone who attended to dress as a Bible character. I don’t remember what I dressed like, but I imagine that there were a lot of bathrobes on the church parking lot those years. As a teenager, I found a T-shirt that said “This is my costume” on the front. On the back, it read “I am a:” and was followed by a list of things you could check off with a marker. I wore that shirt several years in a row, selecting a new box to check each year, using white paint to cover up my check mark from the previous year.

When Larry and I began having children, we started taking our kids to the same Pleasant Hill carnival where I spent every Halloween of my childhood. We never let the kids dress in gory, bloody, yucky costumes. We don’t really get into that side of Halloween. We chose to encourage the kids to be creative and create their own costumes or to dress as a TV character or an animal or something fun. I remember one year when my youngest duct taped baby dolls all over her body and created a messy pony tail on top of her head. She was a babysitter. Another year, my oldest put on a cape and painted a mask over her eyes. She was Wonder Girl or some other made up super hero. My son had a plaid shirt with ripped off sleeves and a worn ball cap that he wore one year. He said he was dressed as Larry the Cable Guy. As long as they were enjoying dressing up to get candy, we were okay with it.

A few years ago we decided that the kids were too old for the church carnival and it was time to stay home and hand out candy in our front yard. They weren’t too pleased with that option but made the best of it. All five of us set out lawn chairs and enjoyed greeting each little ladybug, clown, rock star, princess, cowboy and Star Wars character that came our way. We had fun watching them giggle as they walked away with their families and a bag full of sugary treats. As the night wore on, we talked and laughed and ate way too much candy ourselves. A new tradition was born. We’ve spent every Halloween in the same way ever since.

However your family chooses to celebrate Halloween this year, please remember the common sense rules we all know. Don’t allow children to trick-or-treat alone. Use glow sticks or flashlights to make sure drivers can see you on dark streets. Check your candy before eating it to make sure nothing appears tampered with. When houses turn off the porch light, that means they’re out of candy. Above all, have fun! Happy Halloween!

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