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 Halloween: Trick or Treat?

37738124 - halloween still life with pumpkins and halloween holiday text
Copyright: alexraths / 123RF Stock Photo

It’s time for kid-centered holidays. Labor Day was no problem. But Halloween is a different story. All those kids whining about costumes and candy. All those proud parents taking pictures of their little ones dressed as pumpkins, Ninja Turtles, or whatever’s hot this year. Carving pumpkins, baking orange-frosted cupcakes, buying sugary treats to hand out at the door. It sounds exhausting.

Yesterday, I asked my hair stylist, mother of four, if she was ready for Halloween. She sighed. “Almost. I still have a few more things to do.” At that moment, I did not mind one bit that I don’t have children. Christmas is bad enough.

Yes, it might be fun to do Halloween with my kids. I might enjoy every minute of it. By now my children would be adults, possibly bringing their own children to my house to show their costumes to “Grandma.” I’d be posting pictures like crazy. But that’s not going to happen. Living out here in the spooky old woods, I don’t even get other people’s kids coming to the door. So I don’t have to buy candy. I still have a few of last year’s Tootsie Pops that I bought in a fit of optimism, but it’s too dark out here. If somebody knocks on the door, it might be a bear.

Remember that even if you had children, you might not see them on Halloween. My father’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren all live far away, and he won’t see them on Halloween. Mostly he just worries about trick-or-treaters smashing his plants and trashing his yard.

I could feel sorry for myself on Halloween, but I have choices, as do you. I can go to one of the many events for children and shower them with candy and compliments about their costumes or visit someone who lives in a more child-friendly neighborhood. My late mother-in-law lived in a section of town where people brought their kids by the busload. For several years, she hid in a back room while Fred and I handed out little Hershey Bars for hours. It was fun.

If you live in civilization, you can enjoy decorating your house and yard and offering tricks and treats to the neighborhood kids. Dress up, get silly. If you don’t have a kid, be a kid.

Or put on your own costume and go party with other adults. Karaoke, anyone? Pumpkin-tinis? Dancing to “The Monster Mash?”

If someone is pushing you to watch them and their kids have fun, you can go and be the fun “auntie” or “uncle.” You can also say no, stay home, turn out the porch light and watch “Dancing with the Stars.” It’s okay.

What are your plans for Halloween? Are you looking forward to it or dreading it?