This will be the first Halloween in 23 years that I will not make costumes for my children. I will not cajole them into wearing crazy hats, scary make-up, or yards of sparkly fabric. I will not walk with them through the neighborhood dressed in witches black as the dried leaves swirl around our feet. I will not hear my little one knock on a door and cry “trick or treat” when it opens. It is the end of an era.
Of course I knew that one day they would be too old for tricks and treats. But somehow I thought it would go on forever, like Christmas, our annual apple picking trip, and family dinners around the table. That Harry Potter, Dr. Seuss, and the Berenstein Bears would remain close friends that would visit from time to time. And silly string and knock-knock jokes would still make them giggle. Clearly, I am in denial.
As they, and I, move from one phase of childhood into the next, it's hard to leave it all behind. So although I will mourn the loss of this particular family tradition, I will open my mind and my heart to embrace something new. But I will continue to teach them not to rush the days and weeks ahead, to slow down and take it all in. To listen for fireflies carrying fairies on their backs through the forest, to always make a wish when they blow out the candles, to eat dessert first every now and again, and to splash in the puddles as they walk down the street.
This Halloween, I will still decorate the house, more to please the child in me than anything else, and because, like the pages of a good book you can read again and again, childhood magic should go on forever.
P.S. I will always believe in Santa Claus, too.