With Halloween approaching us, I am beginning to feel that spooky holiday spirit. This time of year brings me feelings of nostalgia and memories of Halloweens past come flooding back to me. I remember some of my favorite childhood costumes, like that time I was the Wicked Witch of the West and got to wear green paint all over my face (which I accidentally also got all over the sofa) or the time I was an “old lady” and got to spray my hair gray and draw wrinkles on my face. I remember the houses in my neighborhood that gave out the full-sized candy bars and the ones that left out just a bowl with the sign “PLEASE TAKE ONE.” That truly tested my character every year, and for the record, I always took just one!
However, what sticks out to me the most is the feeling of community that I always felt on this holiday. At my elementary school we always had a Halloween parade, where parents and family members would come out just to watch us strut around the bus circle in our Halloween costumes. Their cheers and applause made me feel like I was a celebrity. Then when the sun went down, and the trick or treating began, my father would accompany us around the neighborhood, stopping to chat with neighbors along the way. I remember running into friends, and persuading them to join up with me on my quest to get as many Kit Kat bars as possible. I remember neighbors inviting my family inside their homes to warm up and have a quick chat with warm apple cider. I remember my friends’ costumes, and their explanations behind them. To me, these are my most significant memories from Halloween, which, as we would say at camp, brought me Warm Inner Glows.
It is true that with time Halloween has evolved in different ways. However, one thing that still remains is that Halloween is a time that brings people together and encourages connection. Whether you are in the role of “trick or treater” or in the role of “candy giver” people find themselves admiring each other’s costumes, making new friends, and saying hi to their old friends on Halloween night. These face to face interactions (or should I say mask to mask?) are so important and so meaningful.
We are lucky that being a part of the Echo Lake community means we get to celebrate Halloween not once, but twice a year! Once on October 31st (with everyone else) and also once in July at Echo Lake! I would definitely say that Halloween reminds me of camp for many reasons, not just because it is a fun evening program, but because it encourages community and connection. That is what we experience everyday at camp! I would even go as far as saying, Halloween is like a little piece of camp in the Fall.
I hope everyone has a safe and happy Halloween. I hope everyone gets their favorite candy, only “takes one” out of the unattended candy bowl, and gets to dress up as whatever it is they want to be for the night. But most of all, I hope everyone takes time to hear the story behind their friend’s costume, spends a little extra time saying hello to a neighbor, and makes sure to appreciate the people around them. That is certainly the real “treat” of Halloween.
My sister, Kara, and me (In my Wicked Witch costume)