Everyone has holiday traditions. My family had to squeeze a lot of celebrating into Halloween because it was also my dad’s birthday. When I arrived home from school we’d eat a quick fast food dinner (usually White Castle). I would complain about having to wear long johns or a coat, because it would ruin the costume design I had worked so hard on. After I lost the debate (I always lost), I would leave the house with my dad and besties who lived across the street.
While we were out filling pillow cases with candy my mom held down the fort. She’d pass out candy and have special treat bags for a few close friends. While out, I would work up the nerve to visit the spookiest house in our subdivision. It had a coffin with a “corpse” named Melvin. If you asked him questions he’d answer them. It was the scariest thing!! For years I would wait on the sidewalk and watch brave children and teens go ask questions. I don’t quite remember the year I was quite brave enough to talk to him…
Finally, we would go home and I would tell my mom EVERYTHING Melvin said to me, or children braver than I was, and we would look through my candy to sort the gross stuff my parents liked and make sure it was all wrapped. We always ended the evening the same way- we would drive to my dad’s birthday dinner. It was at one of my FAVORITE restaurants- Bill Knapps. They actually gave you a cake on your birthday… a whole cake! We would enjoy our yummy Bill Knapps dinner (I guess 2nd dinner…. oh well, it was a holiday) and talk about our evening. Mom would tell us who stopped by and I would tell her where we went.
It wasn’t until I grew to be an adult and my dad passed away that I realized how selfless dad’s birthday had to be every year. Halloween isn’t like Thanksgiving- it is ALWAYS the 31st. So every year I was around he’d have to argue with me to ruin my sweet costumes with long johns and coats and gloves. Then he would have to dress warm and walk around the neighborhood while I grabbed up all the candy I could. My mom had to spend part of the evening of her husband’s birthday passing out candy to the kids in our neighborhood and not spending it with him. I think that’s why the Bill Knapps dinner was so important. We were able to spend the evening together and sing happy birthday and eat cake. It was great.
What family traditions do you have on Halloween?