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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Surviving our childless holidays

Halloween is over, thank God, but I’m still getting comments and private emails from childless people for whom it was a painful experience. Everyone else seemed to be having a great time with their children and grandchildren, but the holiday just reminded them they didn’t/couldn’t/probably never would have kids. Sucks, doesn’t it.

I spent Halloween here alone in my house in the woods, baking muffins for the church bazaar. I bought candy–little Hershey bars because that’s what my mother used to buy, and they made miss her even more than usual. I put up Halloween lights and waited for kids to come. But nobody came. Not a single knock on the door. The few kids who live nearby probably went elsewhere or stayed home, discouraged by the rain and the darkness out here. It was just me mixing one batch of muffins after another, and the dog watching in the hope that I might drop something delicious on the floor. By 9:00, I decided nobody was coming and turned off the lights. My legs were tired from standing at the kitchen counter, and I felt bad about missing another Halloween.

The very next day, yesterday, the Christmas TV commercials started, full of presents for little kids. I have no kids to buy gifts for, and no little kid will be wrapping a present for me.

Gosh, I sound sorry for myself. I’m just saying the holidays are hard when you don’t have children and you wanted them. But we need to get ourselves off our self-pity pots and do something positive. I could have invited people over or found a Halloween party to go to. I could have maybe helped with an event in town. I could donate my candy to a children’s shelter or send it to the troops overseas. I don’t have to eat those little candy bars one at a time and miss my mom with each fattening bite.

Now I can get myself busy with Christmas activities, with and without children, and make or buy gifts for families who can’t afford to buy their own. I can offer my company to lonely seniors. I can spend the holidays at a tropical island reading trashy novels and drinking pina coladas. Maybe find a handsome islander and make love all day long.

With advance planning, our holidays can not only be less painful but even fun. What other ways can we survive our childless holidays? Suggestions?

At least I didn’t put a Halloween costume on my dog.