Happy memories can last forever.
Trick-or-treating has changed so much since my participation of it when I was a child. When I was child, we didn't go trick-or-treating at the mall. Everyone in our neighbourhood would have an early dinner so that Hallowe'en festivities could begin earlier in the evening. Porch lights would be off until dinner was over and as soon as it was, it almost seemed like everything was in sync. Porch lights just came on one after another within seconds and minutes.
Now when I shop for a costume for my daughter, I take into consideration that she will be trick-or-treating on a typical chilly end-of-October evening. When I was a child, there really wasn't the option of getting a warm costume. I mean the idea of a costume that could function as a disguise as well as keep you warm was not common at all. I recall one year when I was so excited that my father had bought me a Cinderella costume. I was thrilled that I was going to be able to go out and show everyone my blue gown and the mask that came with it. Unfortunately, it was a rainy and cold Hallowe'en night, and I was unable to wear my costume without my big coat over it. My parents just wouldn't let me leave the house in just my thin vinyl costume and insisted that I wear a coat. I resisted. I even tried to wear the coat under the gown, but it just wouldn't fit. Unfortunately, they won. When the choices were put on the coat or stay home, resistance was futile. I put my costume on and then my coat and remembered thinking to myself that I looked ridiculous. However, my father made me feel better. He reassured me that everyone would know I was Cinderella because he would pick out the shortest warm jacket that I had and make sure that everyone could still see most of my gown beneath my jacket. I still wanted to be able to show off all of my Cinderella gown, but I settled for being able to see the lower part of it.
We left the house together like we had done in previous years. My father was usually the one that took us around the neighbourhood while my mom stayed home to hand out candy. He would take us all around the neighbourhood and admire the fireworks that were being set off by our neighbours. I remember him keeping us safe and reminding us not to get too close. I remember him carrying extra bags for us to transfer our candy into so that our trick-or-treating buckets would never get too heavy so that we could keep going longer. It was an amazing night. Our arrival back home would start off with my mom greeting us at the door and telling us to say "trick-or-treat" so that she could give us a special treat as well. Then there would always be a box of sparklers that my father had bought for us to light up and run around on the front lawn with.
Soon enough, it got late and it was time to go inside. Removing my Cinderella costume and mask was a relief at this point as it was hot trying to keep them on for a couple hours. I was glad to take them off. There really wasn't much breathing space behind mask, and I remember briefly thinking that I really hadn't needed my coat as I would have definitely survived without it. However, that momentary thought was trumped by the joy and excitement of knowing that I could now check out everything that I had gotten from trick-or-treating. Running up the stairs and straight to the kitchen table, I emptied everything in my bucket and bags. Together, we would go through everything to check that all the packages were intact and unopened. There were so many different goodies, and we would always be able to choose just one item from our loot to eat right away. My favourite to this day was the roll of Rockets that I could slowly savour one piece at a time. The rest had to be put in a bag and saved for later.
It's funny how this particular Hallowe'en stuck after all these years. I think it's because of the shift of emotions that occurred from the beginning of the night to the end of it. At one point, all that mattered was that I got to show off my Cinderella costume, but in the end, it didn't matter at all. What mattered and was the most significant were the memories of the events that happened every year when the evening started and ended -- the spending time with my father, the watching of fireworks, the coming home to play with sparklers, the examining of our candy and the being allowed to have just one piece of our choice before brushing our teeth and going to bed. These expected joys that I knew would happen each year were the things that mattered most and will always be treasured.
These are the kinds of memories that we hope to give our kids.