Getting Through a Childless Halloween

Boy, is Halloween a non-event when you live alone with no children around. Or it can be. Amid the Facebook barrage of babies and kids in Halloween costumes, Annie and I lived a normal day. I practiced music. I took myself out to lunch and bought groceries, noting a few adults in costume. Rain expected for today, I mowed my lawns. I walked the dog. I ate leftovers for dinner and called my dad, who was sitting in the dark in California to avoid luring Trick or Treaters to his porch. He forgot to buy candy, and it’s too hard for him to get up and down to answer the door. Me, I sat on the loveseat with Annie, lights shining bright. Nobody would be coming out here in the woods. The few families with kids take them elsewhere to Trick or Treat.

I asked my father about Halloween when he was a kid growing up on a ranch in California back in the 1920s and ‘30s. Did he go Trick or Treating? No, he said. He never did. Houses were spread too far. There were no street lights. Did you have a costume? Nope. The most that happened at his house was that his father might carve a pumpkin. Jack-o-Lantern, he called it. I suspect his mother used the insides to make pie. You couldn’t just throw out food during the Depression.

It was different when my brother and I were growing up. We couldn’t wait to put on our costumes and go Trick or Treating, filling our bags with candy. But now my dad, like me, was sitting in his living room as Halloween went on without him. He has children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but none were nearby showing off their costumes.

For me, it was a hard holiday. I felt especially alone and old. But I know it doesn’t have to be that way. A friend who is the same age and also widowed posted a Facebook photo of herself in costume with her tiny piano students, also in costume. They all seemed so happy. My friend has a grown son, but he doesn’t live around here. She didn’t let that stop her from having a happy Halloween. Like everything else, Halloween is what you make of it. Without kids, I guess we have to try harder.

And no, I’m not putting a costume on my dog.

Halloween over, Thanksgiving and Christmas are approaching like a roaring freight train. How was yesterday for you? Any thoughts on the upcoming holidays?

 

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Childless during Halloween and Hurricanes


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Dear friends,
I was going to write about Halloween today and how seeing all those little kids in their costumes makes it harder to be childless. Well, it does, and without kids, Halloween isn’t much fun, but I’m having a hard time concentrating in the midst of the disasters happening in the eastern United States in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The extent of the damage is unbelievable, and my prayers go out to those suffering from the floods and wind damage.
We have our own storm happening right now on the Oregon Coast with plenty of rain and wind, but it’s nothing compared to what has happened in places like New Jersey and New York. My yard is soggy and my roof is leaking in the laundry room, but Annie and I are safe, my house is not flooded, the walls and windows are intact, and my car is not floating away. If the power goes out, I’m ready with my flashlights and candles.
Now how does this fit with being childless by marriage? I guess we simply have fewer people to worry about keeping safe or keeping entertained in a protracted power failure. Without children, we can offer our time, energy and money to help others whose lives are more complicated. Yes, we are sad that we don’t have children, but instead of focusing on our sadness, let’s reach out to others as much as we can. 
What do you think? How do you feel about being childless when a disaster strikes? 
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Oh, this feels so tacky in view of current events, but I have to tell you that tomorrow is the last day the Kindle e-book version of Childless by Marriage will be available for free. Click here. After Halloween, it goes back to $2.99, which still is pretty darned inexpensive. My novel Azorean Dreams is also a free e-book through Halloween. It’s something to read by candlelight or between trips to the door to give candy to trick-or-treaters.