I haven't celebrated Halloween in years, well kind of......
Let me explain. For many years, I truly did not celebrate it. This was recognized as an absolute among my children. We did, however, attend harvest, hallelujah parties and other such festivities under the guise as "Halloween Alternatives". Once a zealous young woman, I was quite passionate in my stand. Little was I to find out that one little elderly female would challenge me in a way I would never have thought.
I still remember the "change over" as a child. Some of my first memories were of attending community Halloween parties. I remember dressing up in costumes was such fun. Some times my grandmother threw a big party for the family. Other times we went to "the rich part of town" where my aunt lived, to trick or treat. All that changed after my mother started attending church. "Its the devils holiday". The church ladies told me. Then lots of history on the holiday. Then I was to hear about human sacrifices, demonic power, and an array of other horrors. In the end, I was convinced that Halloween was a day of pure evil.
Living in this little remote community, I held to my stand against celebrating the holiday. This didn't seem to present as a problem at first. That was, until I found out that there was supposed to be a party at the community center. I politely declined. As the years went by, I continued to not send my kids.
Then one year, I found out about the history of the community Halloween party. A little old couple, who lived in the Yaak all of their lives were very instrumental in putting it on. As a matter of fact, the little old man, "Tyme", was born on the home steaded property where he remains to this day. Now in their late 70's or 80's, "Tyme and Binnie" continue the tradition that they have known all their lives. The woman, who took over helping Binnie with the party some years ago, didn't celebrate Halloween. She started helping her with the party out of respect for her though. One year that lady asked me if my kids could come. I told her we don't celebrate Halloween, but if it was a "Harvest" party, we would come.
True to this woman's promise, they called it a "Harvest" party. My kids and one other were there that year. The little old lady shook her head thinking the idea that this was "a harvest party" was absurd. That night, she played games with the kids and laughed like a little kid. When it was time for the pinata, she and her husband played together helping the children. Both of them, animated, grinned and laughed the whole time. It was a side of both of them that I'd never seen. Deep down inside, despite the 1970's cardboard witch on the wall, I knew I had done the right thing.
As the years passed, and this little lady got weaker and older, more women took over to help with the party. I abandoned the idea of making everybody call it a "harvest party" on my behalf. It was what it was, and I was allowing my children to participate out of respect for these founders of our community. I couldn't imagine how incredibly disappointing it would have been for her had no children showed up.
This year, I had to work on Halloween. I figured by now there were enough kids in the community to take the place of mine. On Thursday, I got a call that they had moved the party to Friday, in part because they knew I had to work. Riddled with guilt, I once again made arrangements for my youngest to attend. He was excited. He's just turned 7, and it's become a tradition for him. The other kids shook their heads disapprovingly. "We don't celebrate Halloween" they reminded me. Why are you encouraging this?". Another lady has taken over organizing the party. She doesn't celebrate Halloween either. She was instrumental in getting rid of all the 1970's cardboard ghosts and witches and replacing them with more modern looking pumpkins and such.
That night, we had Bible Study, but we made a special trip to drop Super Catman off there. I sent his big sister along to chaperon him. We had to cut the study short to go pick him up. It was an inconvenience, but I knew he'd have a good time. Five women were present to facilitate the party and had outdone themselves on decor. There were home made popcorn balls, cookies, bottles of soda and huge bags of candy. I was later to find out that Super Catman was the only child who attended the party. The women still did all the hoopla for him, and of course, he was the center of attention for 2 full hours. Binnie wasn't feeling up to going this year.
There is talk that this was the last Community Halloween Party. Of course, I should be a little relieved. I'm not though. I have to admit, I'm just a little bit sorry. You see, with the passing of this party that's gone on all these years, its also the passing of an era. For me, I'll never forget the little old couple laughing and playing with the children. Every Halloween, I'll remember that many of us "who didn't celebrate" stretched ourselves to honor this legendary couple and how much it meant to them.