I've been a Halloween Scrooge. It's true. I can't eat the candy, and my children were terrified of the masks and creatures. They cried and had nightmares for weeks after the dreaded day.
But all that seems to be in the past. This year they are giddy with expectation. It's almost Halloween and the ghouls and goblins in my children are starting to ooze out of their little bodies. Scooby Doo reigns supreme on the TV, and pumpkins haunt the front steps. It's not all fright and monsters--princesses and fantasy live as well in gauzy pink dresses and crowns bedecked with streaming ribbons and sheer, sparkly material. This year the excitement is almost too much to bear.
As I watch my little horde tremble in anticipation of the big night, I can't help wondering, Why are they are so excited? Is it the tinge of safe fear that taints the air? Or is it the glee of running down the sidewalk trailing loot in their wake? Or maybe it's the rustle of leaves and frosted breath that promises, "This is just the beginning--Christmas is coming!" Maybe it's just the candy.
But, then I realize it is more. It's the wonder of the night.
Halloween is the one night they get to be anyone or anything they can imagine, AND everyone else joins in their make believe. The world of daydream and nightmare collide in costumes and candy, and that all adds up to wonder. Loads and loads of wonder. It's like the world pauses in its scepticism and lives out one night of fantasy.
When else do friends become dragons and elves, undead and sorcerers, kings and peasants, superheros and villains? It's a night of magic and mystery. And I should be taking notes. Why? Because I write fantasy. In my own way, I try to create the thrill of Halloween night and package it between page one and the end. I try to capture the emotion and wonder of pretending and believing for oh-so-short a time in fairies and magic. Maybe for once, I need to don a costume and shed my inner Scrooge. Maybe I need to embrace Halloween and live the wonder with my children--even if I can't gorge on chocolate.
How about you? Do you have an inner Scrooge? Are you excited for Halloween? What makes the night magical for you?