Good Grief, Charlie Brown, What Happened to Halloween?
The Great Pumpkin came and took all the fun out of Halloween.
Written by: Dr. Michael Weiss
I didn’t actually see him do it, but I know he was there. How else can you explain it?
One year, my kids can’t wait for Halloween. They talk about it for weeks. They drive my wife nuts with last-minute requests for outrageously difficult costumes that demand great skill with a glue gun. They plan their sweep through the neighborhood so methodically that you’d think they were trying to conquer France.
The next year, my kids just shrug. October 31 is no different from October 30, which is no different from November 1, which is no different from any other day, which is what has me so dazed and confused.
I know there comes a time in every young person’s life when he or she realizes that wearing a costume doesn’t really make you Superman or Cinderella, and when candy stops being a motivation for anything.
But my kids didn’t grow up that fast, did they?
Good grief, I think they did.
One is off to college; the other is moving through adolescence at the speed of light. And just like the athletic shoes they outgrew two summers ago, Halloween is something that their mother and I must now figure out what to do with.
Should we stay home and pass out candy to the younger kids in our neighborhood? Should we go to dinner? Should we turn off the porch light and watch TV while the holiday happens all around us?
I’m stumped. And sad.
When my kids lost their interest in Halloween, I lost a little bit of my identity as a dad.
If my children have no desire to trick-or-treat, then I have no reason to walk them from door to door. And if I’m not walking them from door to door, then I don’t have anything else to do on Halloween.
This wouldn’t bother me so much, expect for the fact that I kind of like Halloween.
More specifically, I like being a father on Halloween. It gives me another chance to spend a couple of hours with my kids while they’re having a really great time - another chance to see their eyes sparkle, to hear them laugh, to watch as they bounce through the neighborhood with purpose and joy, to listen as they recount their adventure.
It doesn’t get any better than that.
But then it’s gone. So what’s a dad to do?
Somehow, passing out candy to other peoples’ children just doesn’t fill the void. As I answer the doorbell and admire the costumes, I remember what it’s like to stand proudly in the driveway. And I feel a lot like Charlie Brown, waiting for the Great Pumpkin to bring some of the magic back.
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