I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I fell in love with Halloween. Perhaps it was the first time I remember dressing up like a vampire, then going door to door gathering candy, or perhaps it wasn’t until I was older and I could see the true beauty of the holiday. Whatever or whenever it was; now all I know is that Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday of the year.
Maybe I’m more of a traditionalist, but I enjoy those vintage paper decorations rather than the new glittery abominations on department store shelves. Plucking a pumpkin from a vine at a local farm and hording candy corn are just a few of the traditions I’ve carried on from my family. Now that I have a family of my own, I’ve started a few new traditions that hopefully they’ll carry down the road after I’m long gone.
Every year we put up a Halloween Tree decorated with spooky lights and an assortment of creepy ornaments we’ve collected over the years. Most of my friends’ heads spin on a dime when I mention the subject, “A Halloween tree, you say?”
Yes. A Halloween tree. I know not everybody puts one up, but when Target starts selling ornaments for them then I know it must be a growing trend.
For me and my family however, putting up a Halloween tree signaled a shift in our belief structure. I’m not a religious person by any means, but I do believe that some higher power made us, whether it was a man in a white robe or a lady in a space ship, we may never know. I’m also not a very greedy person, so the entire Give me, Give me, and I want this, and I want that of the Christmas holiday was starting to really get under my skin. To me, Christmas time should be a period of celebrating love, peace, and giving to others. The moment Christmas decorations begin invading stores it drives me mad. I find myself clenching my teeth and gripping my fists while I’m thinking, it’s not even October yet! Halloween should be the Give me holiday, especially since Trick-or-Treating involves walking around to strangers houses and begging for candy.
So I made a fundamental shift a few years ago. I would start putting up a Halloween tree and giving out Halloween presents. My tree would be black, evil looking, and decorated with the most macabre ornaments I could find, along with some cute ones too. I’d put a candy dish beneath it and circle the base with pumpkins and figurines. Halloween would become my “I WANT” holiday. If my family asks if I have a hankering for something special then I tell them to buy it for my Halloween present. Don’t worry, they still scratch their heads at the comment. I understand why as well.
Christmas gifts are a long honored tradition around the world. I find it amusing that people insist that giving Tickle Me Elmos and Best Buy gift cards somehow worships the birth of the savior of mankind. I know some people still try to say, “Well, the wise men brought Jesus presents.” So now I need to feel compelled to buy a distant unseen relative a fruit cake, or a summer sausage, or a pair of heated socks?
Now that I have my Halloween tree I have turned the table on Christmas. I no longer buy people presents or constantly hint at gifts for myself. Rather what I do is take the money I would spend on shameful things for other people and donate it to charity. The first and foremost charity I support is Toys for Tots. I believe our men and women in the Marine Corps do a damn fine job sacrificing to project our freedoms and it’s honorable that they have a great charity which helps kids in need. The second charity I support is my local children’s hospital. I don’t think it’s fair for a kid to be sick on Christmas, let alone suffering and dying from a terminal disease. Last, but not least, I support local reading charities that give books to kids. Hey, I’m an author, so maybe we can call that last one job security.
I’m not telling you all to follow in my footsteps. You must be warned they lead down a blood stained path into the fiery depths of hell. I’m also not donating my time or money because I think it’s what God wants me to do in order to find salvation. But I do look at the situation and I’ve determined what works best for me is to give a little something to others who are far less fortunate than me.
Have a Happy & Safe Halloween . I’ll see you in your nightmares.