Growing up, Halloween was never a big thing in my family. We never felt like we missed out though – the holiday was usually spent in Niagara Falls or Myrtle Beach or Florida where we also celebrated my parents’ wedding anniversary (on the 24th!). (And we typically traveled with a lot of candy and chocolate, so we never missed out on that aspect of the holiday!) Being homeschooled for most of my elementary and secondary school years, October holidays always felt exciting because attractions were less crowded and it was exciting to know that while others were stuck in school, we were away having fun!
Once Mark and I got married, we lived on the outskirts of the city (think more country, less city, but not super secluded) on a busier road. We lived across from a housing subdivision, but we never got any trick or treaters. I love holidays, but Halloween has never really been on my holiday radar.
We moved just before Halloween last year, but A.J. was only about 10 months old, and we weren’t sure how popular trick or treating was in our small rural community. It turns out, there were more young families that we were aware of, and there were more trick or treaters than we had thought there would be. So this year, we were excited to get A.J. dressed up and go trick or treating!
I’ve never really understood all hype around Halloween (well, except the chocolate. I love any reason to gather and eat loads of chocolate). But now I have a brand new appreciation for the holiday. Being in a more rural community, it’s been difficult to find opportunities to meet our neighbours. When we first moved in, we walked up long driveways to meet our immediate neighbours, but that took us to the extent of our comfort zone. So trick or treating allowed us to use our daughter as an excuse to unabashedly knock on our neighbours’ doors and introduce ourselves!
The sense of community I felt last night – it felt great! I have a feeling that next year I’m going to be *that* person who goes overboard with decorating! Our favourite house had a decoration on the door that made spooky noises once you knocked. I was a little surprised and was paying too much attention watching A.J. looking at the decoration to hear the house’s occupant walking up to the door… I jumped and yelped when she opened the door (feeling somewhat like a fool since I – a grown woman – was scared, while the toddler standing next to me was unfazed).
I came across this article (“Four reasons you should go trick-or-treating tonight”) today, and I really liked its emphasis on taking advantage of Halloween to establish or maintain a healthy sense of community with your neighbours. I read the second reason, “there is no other night when you get to go to your neighbor’s door and introduce yourself without any awkwardness” and it completely resonated with how I felt all evening last night while we were out and about in our community.
Interacting with some of my neighbours also gave me the chance to apologize for our rooster…. More of that to come!