It has been quite some time since the last time I’ve put a Halloween costume on. Halloween is my birthday so I loved it a little more than the other kids! In addition to making a really cool costume, and going door to door looking for candy, I got my favorite dinner, some gifts, and cake! It was pretty hard for me to let go of these tradition as I got older. It is my birthday after all. Now, nearly 10 years later those days are long gone.
What I think I miss the most was the anticipation. It seemed like the Halloween festivities started on October 1st and lasted all through the month. The fall was my favorite time of the year.
Pumpkin decorations started to go up on school room doors. Little festive gourd displays popped up on benches and front desks at the doctors or the library. My mother, three brothers, and I carved our pumpkins together and sat them out on a hay bale on our front porch. We spent the whole month appreciating the beauty and tradition of the season.
Our schedules changed from the long and lazy days of summer to the crisp, short days of fall. We began wearing jackets in the morning at the bus stop and could even see our breath for the first time in months! Fall was here, and Halloween was right around the corner.
When the day finally came, it seemed like torture crawling out of bed to go sit in school, at a desk all day and wait! Unless of course Halloween was on a weekend.
My mother seemed to be just as excited for the day as we were! As I write this, sitting at my parents table, I see a candy dish of candy corn, a festive fall basket, and pumpkin decorations throughout the kitchen and dining room! Everyone loves a mom like that.
When I was little, we certainly did not have a lot of money. But that was OK! We made do. Necessity breeds creativity, and we made ends meet by making pieces of, or creating entire costumes to wear.
The big day was finally here. I remember just how I felt pulling that costume on for the first time.
I spent the weeks prior planning and creating, doing my very best to design the coolest costume on the street! When the day came I never felt ready.
I would get dressed in front of the mirror. I’d look at myself and be so proud. I looked cool, and it was soon time to strut my stuff for the neighbors. I’d walk next door to see my best friend and his little sister’s costumes. You should have seen me! Chest puffed out, walking tall, showing off. I was the coolest little man in the world!
For a young boy, dressing up with cool weapons and capes made me feel powerful. I had so much pride in my costume and felt like it defined who I was. It showed the world that I was something, I was not just another little kid, I was a powerful man! My costume said “look out!”. That is so important to a young boy, to feel dangerous and to have a battle to fight; or to think it’s a battle anyway. My costume filled the void in my young heart. To be something powerful…
Many years later, the chilly days of fall are still my favorite time of the year. I still notice the decorations, I still carve pumpkins, and I absolutely love Halloween candy.
Just like when I was a young boy, the weeks surrounding Halloween are all about planning my costume and heading outside. I now spend most of the year thinking about it, rather than just a few weeks, and I still carry weapons around with me and do my best to be pretty dangerous. I paint my face, and sometimes, I even look in the mirror and think “man, I look cool!”. I know now that my costume doesn’t define me as a man, but it does strongly reflect what is in my heart. As an older man, I know I am powerful. I still have my voids, we all do, but I dress up, and seek out what I need to fill them. My costume is the way I embark on the adventures of my life.
This fall, as the days get shorter, crisper, and Halloween approaches, think back to your childhood costumes. Think back to who you were, and the identity your costume gave you. As you pull on your camouflage and paint your face, remember the old you, the you that just couldn’t wait to gear up, head out, and show the world what you were made of.
Stay outside. Live your adventure.