Growing up, my parents never made a big deal about the holidays. We celebrated them of course, but they just weren’t the sort of people who went crazy about them.
I, on the other hand, go crazy about all of them. I absolutely love this time of year.
This year, I did decorate for Halloween, even though nobody but me cares about that anymore. Our youngest child (and the only one at home) is 16, and it has been quite a while since he really cared about the holidays and the whole decorating and festivities that were once so important.
Last year, I decided not to mention decorating for Halloween and nobody said one thing the entire month of October. That made me so sad, which is why I decided this year I would decorate, even if just for myself.
It sort of reminded me of when our children stopped caring about Easter eggs. I had a small pity party and am sure I looked rather pitiable when I dyed eggs by myself.
We used to have so many adventures during the month of October — visiting the various pumpkin patches, creating “scary” treats, letting the kids create a haunted house, and deciding on and making Halloween costumes.
Yes, I was “that” mom. The homemade costume thing came about when one year I let their begging get the best of me and allowed all four children to pick out costumes at a store. It cost way more than $100.
Those costumes were so poorly made, they didn’t even hold up during that month. In addition, they weren’t at all creative. So after that expensive mistake, I insisted they create their own costume and we would buy a few things if needed to complete the ensemble.
For example, when one daughter went as a veterinarian, we were able to find scrubs and a lab coat at a local thrift store for just a few dollars.
My mother personalized the coat and found an old stethoscope in her basement. Voila! A much better looking costume than anything you could find in a bag — not that they probably even have those.
That same child went as a bird one year, and my mother helped her create wings out of a cape and some feathers. It was adorable.
Naturally, I took photos each time, and then framed them in black or orange frames. Every year, I set out all of the photos so we could all walk down memory lane. Well, I could. I missed seeing those photos last year and have enjoyed seeing them this past month.
I loved when we made hot cider, caramel apples and, of course, roasted pumpkin seeds. How fun to go to the many fall festivals and, of course, the Cumming Country Fair & Festival. The last time we went to the fair, the kids went their way, and we went ours. That was also a little sad.
So many things are just not the same when your kids grow up.
The month of October culminates with trick or treating, or for some a big celebration at church. We loved trick or treating, although we usually went to my parents’ neighborhood since ours took about only 15 minutes to get through.
Upon returning from a night of candy looting, we would quickly get everybody bathed and properly bedded down. After that, came the fun ritual of us going through their candy. When they were really little, we sorted out a “parent stash” of our favorite sugar-rush treats.
For me, that meant Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups or anything with dark chocolate. For Paul, it meant Heath Bars. And please don’t judge us, we always left plenty of candy for the kids.
Next, we would sort out four piles of candy for each child and then put the rest away to be doled out in somewhat of a controlled manner.
As with most things, our ability to “control” the candy intake became more difficult as the kids got older. In fact, I remember throwing away handfuls at a time when they were at school and being so glad when it was finally all gone.
Now, when our children are all at home, we always end up talking about our memories and traditions. We all laugh about that one amazing haunted house in the garage that made several kids from down the street cry, or how mad I got that time they used ketchup for fake blood and got it all over the basement.
Does your family have a lot of traditions? If not, try creating some this holiday season. I promise, the memories are worth it, even if you do feel a little sad remembering them years later.
Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at email@example.com.