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Creating Sub-Traditions

October 19, 2010

I hate Halloween.

There I’ve said it. I really, truly hate it. I don’t like pumpkins or pumpkin pie. I do not enjoy costumes. Most importantly, I hate anything scary. And Halloween’s built on scary. Maybe if I were a kid, I might enjoy the candy but, at my age, I know it’s best to stay away from it. So, in my opinion there’s nothing redeemable about this day.

Maybe it’s because I haven’t grown up with the tradition of celebrating it. Where I come from, we don’t have Halloween or anything like it. For the first few years I moved here, I ignored it. Then for a brief period I made my peace with and even embraced giving candy to the kids who came to our door.

Then we had kids and it was time to go trick or treating, and I hated it all over again. The haunted houses, the horror movies on TV, the candy I had to tell my son he couldn’t have. (One or two or three but certainly not the whole bucket.) I just didn’t understand what was so great about this holiday.

A few years ago, my husband bought a pumpkin carving kit. A $5 one at wal-mart. It came with pictures you taped on the pumpkin and then cut out. This little thing was the first step to changing my feelings about this holiday. I now really enjoy the process of picking the pattern and carving the pumpkin with my kids. (Even though I do all the work.) I also enjoy our yearly trips to the pumpkin patch. I love that it’s something we do as a family.

So while I am still not at peace with Halloween, I did manage to create some small sub-traditions around this holiday that I look forward to. This way, I can make sure that I share my kids’ enthusiasm about one of their favorite days of the year.

Maybe that’s the trick for dealing with something you cannot stand: creating a small portion inside it that you love.

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