Traditions run strong in my family. I embrace the old traditions of my culture and am working hard to make those traditions something my boys love and treasure. I believe that tradition can help shape who we are and how we all fit together.
Yet, at the same time I treat tradition like a pizza menu. I pick and choose what I like. What I don’t like, I pretend isn’t even there. We do Christmas, we do Easter, we don’t do Valentine’s Day and we don’t do Halloween. Maybe it is because I never celebrated Halloween when I was young. Truth be told, I don’t even know what Halloween is all about. I don’t like horror movies and in my mind Halloween and horror movies go hand in hand. So Halloween has never been celebrated in my house.
Over the past two weeks, catalogues of Halloween costumes, decorations and candy have flooded our letterbox. My boys have been in retail heaven.
“Mum, I want to be a vampire.”
“Mum, I want to be a zombie.”
“Mum, I want a pumpkin.”
Every time they have asked for a costume, or a Halloween gimmick, I have said “No.” I have not given it a second thought. I have not been deterred by the disappointment on their face. Nor the way they drag their feet and sulk as they walk away. We just don’t do Halloween.
Enter the shopping trip with Nanna and Nannu. The shopping trip that was to undo all the hard work of my Halloween embargo. The boys came home with a bag full of Halloween treasures. Glow in the dark skeletons, mini pumpkins, bigger pumpkins, bobble headbands, streamers – all their Halloween dreams had come true! There was no point fighting. The boys loved their new treasures. I was outnumbered; two boys and a skeleton against me.
I faced two choices. I could ignore their excitement, the glow on their faces, knowing October 31 would pass. Or I could let go a little, and just maybe try and have a little fun.
So Halloween has seeped through the walls, through the cracks and under the door. I have no idea how to celebrate or what to do. I’m taking my cue from two little boys. Two little boys who are thrilled to pieces that it is Halloween. Two little boys who believe that zombies, witches and vampires are real. Two little boys who can’t wait to play trick or treat.
What does this all mean? Is Halloween now here to stay and part of our list of traditions? Will I be re-evaluating my Valentine’s Day embargo come February?
The one thing I do know is that the conversations in my house have long only been between two voices. Two adult voices. From now on, the conversations in this house need to be between four. My boys have a voice. A voice with dreams, expectations and a true excitement for life. If I can’t support that, who will?