Growing up in South Dakota, it always seemed to be cold. Snow or freezing rain loved to pick October 31st as a day to visit. I remember bundling up in layers under my costume and at times topping the costume with a winter coat. The flexibility to walk was secondary to staying warm.
My most memorable Halloween was when I was around 8 or 9 and a little Trick or Treater was hit by a car in front of our home. My Dad ran out to help the family while they waited for the EMT’s to arrive. When the ambulance left with the little girl and her Mom, the rest of her siblings came into our home and stayed with us to wait.
It was a simpler time. A time when you didn’t have to question the kindness of strangers. A time when you could leave your frightened children in the care of a family you didn’t know during a moment of crisis - and trust they would be ok.
The children were scared and worried about their sister. My siblings and I gave up our Trick or Treating that year to play games with the children and keep them safe and warm until their Mother could return.
It was late in the night when the Mom came back for the children. I vaguely remember how my Dad had followed up the next day to check on the little girl. I have always wondered what happened to her and how her story turned out. This is an event from my childhood that made a defined memory in the wrinkles of my brain. When I had children of my own, I was extremely sensitive to their safety as they ran door to door.
It wasn’t long after that year that I remember the news warning of someone putting razor blades in apples and giving them as treats. My parents then began checking our Trick or Treat bags and removing anything that looked suspicious.
Why is Halloween my least favorite holiday?
Maybe it was memories of the cold snowy nights running in the dark.
Maybe it was the trauma and fear of that night when the little girl was hit by a car in front of us.
Maybe it was the reality that there are bad people that would try to hurt children by hiding dangerous items in treats.
Maybe it was the battles that occurred after the bags of candy were filled when I tried to keep my own children from eating nothing but candy for weeks.
It could have been any (or all) of these that has dampened my enthusiasm for the concept of Halloween.
And now, if all of that isn’t enough, this year we have the added concern caused by an invisible virus. This one we can’t protect our children from by bundling them warmer, cautioning them about traffic, or checking their candy.
My wish for you this Halloween is that you stay home safely tucked in with your children, telling stories, playing games, and sharing candy that you know is safe. If you do honor the tradition of Trick or Treating, do it with caution and safety.
Maybe next year the temperature will be warm and pleasant, and the climate of the world will feel safe. Maybe once again it will be a simpler time.
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Pennie's Life Lesson:
“We all need to feel warm and safe.”
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Copyright © 2013-2020 Pennie Hunt
This was written and produced by Pennie Hunt.
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