My earliest memory of Halloween was the year I was Belle. My grandma, who I was convinced had the talent to craft anything, made me the classic yellow dress. She added colorful jewel embellishments which made it extra awesome. I was shocked to find out not all families participated in Halloween festivities. I knew about the scary stuff, but my Halloween was a Belle dress, free candy, pumpkins, and the Peanuts special on TV. The costume changed, but the fun and sugar overload remained.
I’m a bit of a history nerd and we read up on a little Halloween history as a family this year. It’s interesting to learn about what influenced the development of the traditions we have now. There was apparently a push for a more neighborly, community-centered Halloween in the 1800s. We see this today in a growing offering of safe trick-or-treat events put on by towns and churches; in teal pumpkins to think of our young neighbors who can’t have the candy, but shouldn’t miss out on the fun with their peers; and the gentle reminders to let kids be kids and welcome trick-or-treaters of all sizes who show up on our doorstep.
We acknowledge the problem of being more connected to our devices than people. Halloween activities provide the opportunity to greet your neighbors and show kindness to your community. Yes, Halloween has a dark side, both imaginary and real. We still have news reports of candy tampering and I remember my dad checking my haul every year. (Although, as a parent myself now, I’m skeptical of how many of those suspect candies were really a “Dad Tax.”) We can stay behind our closed doors, or we can choose to be the light.