A child in every one
Backward, turn backward,
O Time, in your flight
make me a child again
just for to-night!
~ Elizabeth Akers Allen
There is a child in every one of us who is still a trick-or-treater looking for a brightly-lit front porch.— Robert Brault
Perhaps no holiday brings back more childhood memories than Halloween. The festivities of November and December belong to people of all ages, but Halloween seems created for those who are still young enough to be excited about candy, uninhibited about parading around in costumes, and energetic enough to visit door after door in quest of just one more treat.
If you’re my age or older, you probably remember a time when candy was a relatively rare privilege, which made the prospect of Halloween goodies all the more magical. That exciting trip to get the pumpkin(s) for carving, the fun of spending time with adults who participated in the merriment by creating jack-o-lanterns and other faintly frightful decorations, and the enjoyment of themed activities at school (perhaps with a reading of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow) all combined to build the suspense until October 31.
The crisp autumn air was a perfect setting for the anticipation of choosing “what to be this year” and then creating a costume to wear on the big night. (Store bought costumes were scorned by us, as they may have been by many of you.) What could surpass the sheer delight of dressing up as darkness fell, then seeing creativity on parade in the costumes of friends as we ran from house to house, sometimes greeted by enthusiastic parents dressed in costumes of their own for handing out treats. The fiery grin of a jack-o-lantern would welcome us at almost every door.
On returning home to dump the contents of our bags or pillowcases onto the floor, sorting and trading and eating until past bedtime, we would critique the evening. Whose costumes were best? Most creative? Scariest? Who carved the best pumpkin? Then when bedtime finally came, the regret of knowing one more Halloween had passed was tempered by the candy stash, which would last for weeks, and the knowledge that the grandest festivities were yet to come in the holidays just ahead.
Do these memories sound familiar to you, or are yours different? Did you celebrate Halloween, and if so, how? I hope this season you will remember and share some of your best Halloween memories. Feel free to tell us about them here!