The Imagination Holiday.
Halloween is over and another mundane week is upon me. Speaking of Halloween, I hope you enjoyed the Halloween serial presentation of my short story, "The Cave." If you missed it, you can catch Part 1 here.
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. In fact, it IS my favorite. I love the Holiday season, don't get me wrong, but in my opinion its all downhill after Halloween. Thanksgiving makes you fat, Christmas makes you broke, and New Years makes you hung over with the realization the Holidays are over and you have to go back to work. Okay, its not all bah-humbug. I enjoy the other holidays, but in my mind, nothing compares to Halloween, even if I don't get a day off work.
We usually go all-out for Halloween at the Braden household. Actually, I go overboard. Big time. I throw theme parties, make haunted houses or generally try to wring as much joy from the day as possible. I sort of lose myself in Halloween. One year, I turned the garage into a haunted house, and then the next year I turned the entire back yard into a haunted house (it was epic!). The neighbors still refer to me as the Haunted House Guy. My party themes have range from Stranger Things to Killer Clown to this year, where I hosted a Bilbo Baggins 111th birthday party. I used to lie to myself and say t was for the kids. Who am I kidding? I'll do it even when the kids are grown up and gone (and they almost are).
Why does Halloween appeal to me so much? It's not because its spooky, or there's lots of candy. It isn't because its an excuse to party (okay, maybe just a little). None of these are the reasons Halloween is magical to me. Its because Halloween is about pretending. Its the Imagination Holiday. I think that's why so many people find it appealing into adulthood. It's like a giant cosplay convention.
It gives adults a chance to pretend, and by definition, become a kid again. Its also one of the best ways imaginable to connect with your own kids. Kids instinctively know when their parents are enjoying themselves, and love it when parents bond with them on a level they can understand. I love when I see entire families dressed up and trick or treating together. I'm seeing an event the kids will remember for the rest of their lives, and pass on to their kids. It's a deeply good and wholesome thing to witness. My kids always help get ready for Halloween with a zeal that doesn't manifest at Christmas. One of my best memories was oldest bringing all his teenage friends over to work my haunted house.
This year while I was putting up Bilbo's birthday banner in the front yard a car passed by very slowly. A young lady had her face plastered against the passenger window, a child's grin plastered ear to ear. Before the car slipped away, her hand emerged from the window with a big thumb's up. She's my people. There are lots like her, those people who instinctually understand the joy of surrendering to your imagination. It doesn't have to end with childhood. In fact, it gets better if you just let it happen.
Lots of people don't let it happen. In fact, they don't get it at all. I feel sorry for them. I feel sorry for all those teenagers who think they are too cool for Halloween. You know the ones, the kids who walk around like they don't know what to do with themselves. Sometimes they travel in packs with their friends, no costumes, looking out of place and trying to be immune to the fun around them. They want to join in, but they forgot how to. When did it become a right of passage to kill something beautiful in one's spirit in order to transition to adulthood? It makes me sad. Kids, never give up Halloween! Not even if you're a hundred years old.
Just as bad are those people who turn off their lights and hide in their houses, unwilling to enjoy themselves or hand out candy. I know its their right, but I still feel sorry for them, too.
The time has come to pack the magic back into the attic for another year. As I prepare for the rest of the Holiday Season, I'll look back fondly at this year's Halloween, and bask in the memories of Halloweens past. I'm already thinking about next year, and what new adventures I can cook up. Maybe another haunted house? Maybe a theme party? What will I dress up as?
I think I'm quite ready for another adventure!
#halloween #imagination #party #cosplay #holiday #essay
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