On All Hallow’s Eve
Ushering in Winter’s dark
We toast Fall’s bounty ~ Lynn Thomas Amber
My engagement with the celebration of Halloween has changed over the years. I remember, as a kid, always feeling somewhat shy about knocking on someone’s door and asking for treats. It just did not feel right to me. Growing up in the very controlled environment of Red Lion Row in Longwood Gardens where there were less than 20 houses, everyone knew each other. So, curious that I was still intimidated by the trick-or-treating process. It was common for the occupants of the house to try and guess who you were before dispensing the “treat.” And, they almost always got it right! As an introvert, I can safely say that if not for those protected surroundings I probably would not have participated in Halloween! Today, I doubt most neighborhoods have that degree of familiarity with their Halloween visitors. I would never have approached a strangers house and begged for candy!
After childhood, I did not routinely partake in Halloween (with the exception of one memorable Halloween party in college, but we won’t go there!) until I had my own children. I felt a certain obligation to introduce them to the popular Fall celebration even though I was not a fan. Since we lived in a very rural area, door-to-door trick-or-treating was non-existent – which was just fine with me! Instead, we had fun carving pumpkins and decorating for Halloween. We often helped my grandmother distribute candy to hoards of trick-or-treaters in her neighborhood in Kennett Square, PA. Being elderly, she was a tad afraid to be on her own with strangers coming to her house but she still insisted on taking part in the annual ritual. She really did enjoy seeing the younger children all dressed up. The amount of candy she would give away was almost obscene. We would routinely count well over 100 visitors on a typical Halloween night.
I sewed many of our costumes through my sons childhood years and we took advantage of other ways to participate in the festivities. The public school had annual Halloween parades and the town of West Chester, PA hosted a community parade every year. My favorite Halloween memory is the year we entered the West Chester Halloween Parade as a “farm family” with hubby Jim helping to “power” the tractor! Ya gotta love the old funky flash photography and red-eye imagery!
Halloween signifies something much different at this point in my life. It ushers in November – for me one of the bleakest months of the year – and signifies the beginning of the downslide towards the shortest day of the year. That said I’m once again going to try and capture a photo-a-day for each day in November. I just know there’s magic out there in November – and I’m going to attempt to find it and alter my pessimistic view of the 11th month! ONWARD TO NOVEMBER IN VERMONT! 🙂