Though our days are largely filled with cultural experiences outside of our norm, there are moments where a piece of our own tradition creeps in. This week, that piece surprised us. This, we thought, is what it means to experience the world through the eyes of a child.
Our memories of childhood Halloween are sweet, filled with the excitement of the perfect costume, the biggest candy bag, and the neighborhood house that was giving out “WHOLE Snickers bars!”. Last night, in addition to an adorable costume and perfectly petite candy bag, there was more.
It was like we were stepping outside of the story, allowed to experience Halloween for the first time all over again. In the weeks prior, we had practiced and discussed and played: Costume (which usually entailed running through the house to find the “puh-kin ha” (pumpkin hat))…Knock, knock…Trick or Treat!…Hold out the bag…Thank you! She pretty much had it down. And, then to mention that she would be joined by her friends, an exquisitely outfitted Minnie Mouse and dashing Buzzing Bee, too much excitement.
But not until that first house did it all come alive.
What? A hat, a bag, friends, walking with daddy, AND candy? She caught on fast, frequently exploring the contents of her bag, and holding out her dum-dum sucker with an emphatic, “OH-pe…peeeese!?”
A bystander would likely have never guessed that she was exhilarated. Quite the serious strawberry.
And, though she practiced saying Trick or Treat and Thank You, even right up to the door, there was not one candy-bowl-holder who heard it.
In her own, cautious, reflective way, she processed a new experience. And in some ways, so did we. Of course, we relived our own experiences. Remembering the year I was a scarecrow or the countless times he wanted to be a clown. Reflecting on our own neighborhoods and the kids we walked around with. But we also saw so much more, more than we expected when we met up that evening to stroll the streets of base. For the first time, we saw Halloween night as our parents must have seen it in us. We saw the mystery and discovery unfold. The excitement and joy that is wrapped up in an hour of dressing up, joining community, and stocking up on sugar, all for the first glorious time.
Next year, there will be anticipation, but not quite as innocent as practicing with a “puh-kin ha” and knock-knock. And it definitely won’t slide to give all the candy to daddy to take to work, with the excuse that it is “all gone” now. Nope. This was a unique experience for us all. One which we look back fondly upon already. One which will always evoke a smile.