Another Halloween has made it into the Hammond Family memory books. This may also be interpreted as ... mommy has survived yet another Halloween.
Typically speaking, this is a column I should have written and put to press a week ago. Our last issue date was Oct. 31 after all. Truthfully on that actual date writing about said holiday was the furthest thing from my mind. It’s Halloween, how many varying columns can one possibly write about one seemingly predictable day of each year.
Our truly seasoned parent readers I am certain, are already chuckling at the naivety of that sentence.
Mother of two, working full-time, managing school and extra-curriculars, as well as the ‘holiday decorating’ makes for one very busy October. Yet somehow each year we muddle through just fine and each year a lesson or two seems to be learned by both mommy and her fearless duo.
Every Halloween we kick off the evening participating in the Annual Halloween Parade and Festival, hosted by the City of Oakdale and the Kiwanis Club of Oakdale. This year marked our eight-year anniversary as participants. The kids enjoy seeing their friends, admiring and or explaining one another’s costumes and so do the grown-ups. Then of course there is the ceremonial wave down G Street to the two dozen or so onlookers. It’s just an overall great way to kick off the evening.
As my children have grown older we have naturally transitioned from the scurrying to the grandparents for pictures and candy baskets to Trick or Treating with friends.
I must digress a bit here and emphatically state that yes, I did indeed just use the phrase ‘Trick or Treat’ and in our home Halloween is among our list of holidays. My children, nor their mother celebrate or embrace demonic behavior or witchcraft, but if we did, it’s really no one’s business. They are being raised just as their mother was, with a strong moral compass, a belief in a God bigger than us, as well as a love for imagination. Somehow the simplicity of this ‘holiday’ got the best of our society (in my humble opinion) and I must say that I am grateful that we are surrounded by friends who still share the same philosophy.
Halloween is not, nor will it ever be, the reason bad things happen to good people. In our family we refer to that as ‘life.’ Good and bad happen anytime, on any date and exclusive of none. If you’re truly blessed and lucky, you learn your lessons and move on.
This year marked the second year that we Trick or Treated with friends. As a mommy, I found it especially rewarding, as they were the kids’ ‘school’ friends. This made it enjoyable for both children and parents, as we meandered through the neighborhoods.
All totaled we were four families strong with nine children ranging in age from five to 10. As excitement grew and their system (or lack thereof) became apparent, a few of us ‘grown-ups’ quickly realized this was a task somewhat like corralling cats. They were just plain wild on pure adrenaline. Grabbing the attention of nine children from varying families is no easy feat. By tour’s end, we had affectionately nicknamed our brood the ‘little rascals.’ Fortunately, they each embraced the name and responded accordingly when addressed.
The scope of my evening could pretty much be summed up with just a handful of sentences. ‘Their porch light is off. What do you say? Don’t run. Stay off their grass.’
As I began to hear the echo in my voice I recognized my children had become the children I despised when I was a homeowner, who had yet to have her own children. Admittedly, I was ‘that’ homeowner chastising the children for trampling on my lawn and in my flower beds. Funny how life has a way of turning things on you.
We also came to notice that our children had replaced the words ‘Trick or Treat’ with ‘Happy Halloween.’ This did not seem to bother the ‘treat bearers,’ thankfully.
And so begin new traditions … a greeting versus a request, the re-evaluation of what a porch light signals and parents monopolizing the social aspect of the evening just as much as the children.
Teresa Hammond is circulation manager for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at email@example.com or by calling 847-3021.