My Halloween spirit was crushed this year when my daughter’s primary school decided to cancel their annual story book parade/ costume contest. We all (especially me) were looking forward to this parade. Only one daughter would have been participating, but all the children had helped brainstorm costume ideas for her. We finally decided that Madeline would be the winning character. I had begun to plan out the details of the costume when we received the cancellation news. Instead of making the costume anyway, I let my disappointment get the best of me and I pushed everything Halloween related to the back of my mind and to the bottom of my list. I couldn’t muster the creativity for handmade costumes either. I prayed that the children would create their own costumes using their dress-up clothes and imagination without any of mama’s suggestions. That didn’t happen.
Our lack of pumpkins to carve or paint added to my lack of Halloween enthusiasm. For the past three years we have grown our own pumpkins and each year we harvested enough to share with family and neighbors. It always brought me so much joy to send visitors home with a pumpkin. This year the garden yielded six overgrown pumpkins each of which ripened and quickly rotted long before October. I think we may have planted them a bit too early or we had too much rain toward the end of the summer. For whatever reason, the end result was no pumpkins. I could have bought some, but with Halloween things at the bottom of my list, that didn’t happen.
What did happen was a quick shopping trip on Halloween Day. Amongst the chaos and scatterings left by other last minute shoppers, my children were able to find agreeable costumes that they loved. They didn’t fuss when they were told no for any reason and they appreciated what we bought for them. My children were grateful and excited despite the cancelled parade, rotten pumpkins, and an un-inspiring Mama. This made me beyond happy, and just like that, my Halloween spirit came back. Never mind that there were only a few hours left of the holiday, those few hours was all that were needed. We went on to enjoy homemade chili at my sister’s house followed by trick-or-treating and then ending with the giggles of cousins playing together.
Once again I was reminded of the things that really matter. Like my children, I need to learn how to enjoy what’s right in front of me. I can’t let thwarted plans or dashed expectations take away from the joy that is to come. And the time we spend together as a family is the best part of every holiday. Life never goes as planned but I can't let that stop me from enjoying it.
Next year we will plant the pumpkins later in the season. And next year I can make the costumes myself. But this year, this year was good.