Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Halloween, Wonder, and Fantasy Novels.

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?


Jonene Ficklin said...

Okay, it's a lot the candy, but also the little witches, goblins, Ironmen and Cinderellas that appear at my door, saying, "Hey, do you know who I am?"

And when I do, it's awesome!

I love your post, Leisha! It is a night of wonder!

L.T. Elliot said...

"And I should be taking notes."

That struck me, today. I need to do the same. What a perfect way to describe a holiday. Research! Yay! Now where can I find me a good cloak? Gwa ha ha!

p.s. Would DIE to read your book. DIE.

Anonymous said...

Great post! I'm a Halloween Scrooge, too. I hardly even let my children pick their own costumes. We have one highly practical (i.e. warm) costume for each size, and when the three-year-old told me he wants to be Spiderman, I said, "Sorry, you have to be a monkey." Pretty horrible, I know!

And, even worse, when they get home from trick-or-treating I dump their candy into the big bowl and have them hand it back out to the trick-or-treaters. So far they haven't caught on that this isn't normal, but I'm sure that someday they'll be upset with me.

LeishaMaw said...

Jonene, I bet the whole neighbor hood loves to come to your door. :)

L.T. oooo, I want a good cloak, too. :) As for reading my book. You bet. :)

Nikki, we do the same thing with our costumes. I really struggle over spending money on new ones, so they use the old ones as long as they can. And I hand out their candy, too. I also lock up the left overs and parcel it out a piece at a time. :)

Cherie said...

Didn't convert me, I'm still a Halloween Scrooge.
Love Nikki's Halloween plans.

Rebecca J. Carlson said...

I just love handing out candy!

This year I sat on the front porch (dressed up as a cowgirl with work gloves tucked into my belt and a guitar on my knee) and gave pieces of candy to hundreds of kids in cute costumes.

Thanks for the post, Leisha. You really captured what I love about Halloween.

LeishaMaw said...

Cherie, I hope not. He he!

Rebecca, did you play the guitar for the kids? That is such a fun picture in my mind. :)


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