Halloween is the beginning of the holiday season at our house. We pull our first set of decoration-stuffed boxes out of the attic, covering the house in shades of the season with a few spooky splashes here and there. We head out to orchards to pick pumpkins and apples then run through a maze or two. These traditions began long ago when I moved to the midwest. I guess that it was just my way of saying, "Hey, World! The holiday season has begun!"
There were orchards in every city in the midwest. By my first Halloween, I had visited so many orchards that my house was overflowing with fall bounty. So much so that I needed to share it with friends. So, I threw a pumpkin carving party! Each year, I would take new friends to the orchards and we would carve pumpkins together. Once I was married, my husband and I enjoyed carving the pumpkins so much that it became our first family tradition. The pumpkin carving party grew into an expected event that neighbors and friends looked forward to each year. This tradition continued until we left the midwest and, shortly after, discovered the extent of my daughter's food allergies. With the burden of a move, a new food lifestyle and a child who was allergic to almost everything we traditionally cooked during this season, I just didn't have the physical or emotional energy to continue the party tradition.
However, the "fall bug" has never left us. Each year around Sept, we get antsy. We begin to long for the cold weather, the pumpkins and even the party. We travel hours to find orchards and cooler temperatures. I splash the house with fall colors and we carve a little pumpkin. Each year, we add more decorations and include more people in our little fall adventures. Even so, we just can't satisfy that little itch within us....the itch that was looking for a full blown celebration.
This year, as we pulled boxes from the attic, we came across the orange boxes marked "FALL DECORATIONS". My little angel's face lit up with curiosity as I peeled back the tops to find all of the colorful treasures of celebrations past. One by one, we pulled out the fun. Putting decorations on windows, tables, mantles and doors. The house was transformed and only one question remained unanswered, "Are we going to have a pumpkin carving party?" "Sure, why not?" announced my husband. For weeks, we have decorated and planned as we re-claim a lost tradition - the Great Pumpkin Carving.
Halloween begins a holiday season filled with tradition. However, this year, I realize that we are marking the beginning of something bigger than a recovered tradition. This is the beginning of a new era in our house. We've become more confident, informed, parents of an allergic child. We are now willing to live life and take bigger risks having educated ourselves, our angel, and our friends of the dangers that lurk in every corner each day. We have faced and survived scary realities, coming through them stronger than before. And, at the end of it all, we have developed a deeper faith in God and a greater sense of what is important.
So....this year, we will mark this new era by re-making an old tradition - the Great Pumpkin Carving. With old decorations and new menus, I can't wait to see what awaits!