I've never actually been a fan of Halloween. As a kid it was fun and exciting for obvious reasons, candy and parties and costumes. But I also never really understood the purpose of this sort of silly holiday. Yes, I should maybe just roll with the punches and embrace a purposeless holiday based purely on fun. But it just never clicked. Further, I've always gotten scared easily and never found horror movies, creepy noises or haunted houses entertaining.
Last night I happened upon this newfound reason for enjoying Halloween. It was great to dress up the girls and head out without much of a plan, knowing we wanted to do a little trick-or-treating but nothing too crazy with a 2.5 and 6 month old out on the "coldest Halloween in 8 years." We started next door and then drove to our good friends' house a few blocks away, and ended up working our way back to our house. What I found that was really neat was this feeling of neighborhood and COMMUNITY that I haven't felt since I was a kid, if ever.
These days it's very common to go about our days without even knowing our next door neighbors, let alone everyone else on the street. I don't know what it is - and it probably depends on the neighborhood, but I've found that we get so caught up in the daily grind that we often come and go from our house with blinders on. Last night we met a lot of the people who live near us and as we walked up and down the streets, I felt really safe.
I felt proud and happy that we are raising our little girls in our neighborhood, and that the people who live around us are genuinely nice and doing the best that they can like we are. I also noticed that sometimes a brisk walk in the cold with your family is exactly what I need - to get out and look right and left instead of just constantly pushing ahead.
Life is about more than looking back (nostalgically, or even worse, with regret). Life is about more than looking straight ahead (at our hopes, or even worse, our fears). Life is also very much about looking sideways and opening our eyes to what is around us, the people walking parallel through life but walking their own path, the people who have so much to give and the people who may find healing in a simple connection.
Who would have thought this silly meaningless holiday would give me deeper thoughts this year? I didn't see it coming but I'm always happy to have a chance to think differently.