Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween Traditions

Little Halloween spooks!
Traditions are so important to families and individuals, especially during the holidays.  Even the traditions of Halloween mean so much to kids growing up, provide the memories we have of our childhood, and even if we choose to not follow them, our family traditions give us the foundation of who we are, what's important to us, and where we came from.

Pumpkin carving, costumes and decorations are planned for each year.  Ghoulish treats and diabolical drinks for Halloween parties, creatively decorated cupcakes or our favorite mac & cheese before we head out to trick-or-treat ... whatever our Halloween plans and traditions, they bring joy to our lives.

The horse takes a bow for his yearly Halloween ride.
One of our neighbors has a tradition ... every year at mid-day, he dresses up in a cape, dons a pumpkin over his head, gets on his horse, and rides down the main street in town to the local shopping center, where the kids and adults alike delight in spotting him on his ride.  The horse even bows for photos.

I don't know why he does it.  But I do know that I look forward to catching him on his ride every year.  It somehow makes my day, and gets me in the mood for the evening's festivities.  If I happen to miss him, I feel like something is just missing that Halloween.

Traditions are like that.  You always have the choice to follow them or not.  But if it is something you were really looking forward to, and you happen to miss it, we somehow feel a sense of loss.

Our family traditions include a trip to the pumpkin patch, of course, to pick out all of our pumpkins for carving and baking.  The first pumpkin pies of the season will grace our table on or before Halloween.

Another tradition is going on some local ghost tours or some other Halloween-themed family activity.  This year we went on several tours with family and friends, including one in the local city of Longmont, CO, where we learned a great deal about the early history of one of our nearby towns.  The history included one of its most well-known residents, Mr. James Cash Penney, also known as JC Penney, who happened to also feature prominently in Florida (our previous home state) history, as well.

A possibly haunted old-time barber shop.
It was fascinating to learn so much about the city, its founders, the oldest buildings, and to hear the stories of the lives and hardships of those early settlers.  Among its treasures are the first church built in 1881, a quaint coffee shop with a great deal of history, and a curious barber shop that looked as if time had stood still.  It was full of pictures and memorabilia hanging on the walls which documented the times it has seen.

The delicious mug of cinnamon-laced hot chocolate that my sister, Ana, provided at the end of the evening put the finishing touch to a perfectly spooky and nippy October night.

Tomorrow is Halloween.  I'll be following my usual traditions for the day:  putting out my jack-o-lantern, setting up my bowl of treats for the kids, and making my traditional tea sandwiches for dinner.  I still have to make my final decisions on my outfit for the evening, and pick out my scary movies to watch on fright night!  I can't wait to see what costumes my nieces and nephews will be wearing tomorrow night!  But, before I do any of that, I have to make sure to catch the pumpkin-headed horseman on his annual ride.  It's tradition!

Happy Halloween, everyone!

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