By Sheri White
I have a confession to make. I don’t enjoy Halloween as much as I used to. The holiday has changed so much for me over the past several years.
When my kids were little, Halloween was an event. The day started with a breakfast of pumpkin pancakes before they were off to school. I was always the “room mom” for my youngest daughter’s class, so it was up to me to plan the class party—the games, the prizes, the snacks, and sending out the dreaded volunteer sign-up sheet to the rest of the parents.
After school lunch, it was time for the kids to change into their costumes and get the party started. The excitement throughout the school was palpable. Even the parents got caught up in the anticipation.
Once the girls and I were home, I’d start to make dinner. My in-laws always came over to have dinner with us—I’d make something spooky, like graveyard tacos or eyeball soup.
My husband and father-in-law would take the girls around the neighborhood while my mom-in-law and I would sit on the front porch and hand out the treats. Since I was at the school almost every day, I knew the kids and loved seeing them in their costumes.
Once the girls were back, they’d perform their yearly ritual of trading candy; Becca loved Whoppers, and Sarah and Lauren were only too happy to give her theirs.
I’d serve pumpkin cake and coffee, then my in-laws would leave and the kids would go to bed. That was my time to watch horror movies until I couldn’t stay awake any longer.
But now my kids are grown and living their lives. My mother-in-law passed from cancer, and my father-in-law moved away. It’s just not the same. There aren’t many trick-or-treaters, either; all the kids in the neighborhood have grown up, and the “new” little ones are kids I don’t know and most don’t come up into our cul-de-sac anyway.
However, I still love everything leading up to Halloween. The chilly days with bright sunshine and leaves crunching underneath my shoes, the decorations that slowly show up at the stores, pumpkin baked goods, hot coffee, cookies, the horror movies and shows, and of course, The Great Pumpkin.
My husband and I have decided this year will be different. We’re going to put up a black tree and decorate it with skeletons, witches, and other spooky things. We’ll invite the kids and their partners and my granddaughter over for dinner on Halloween night and serve a creepy feast, then watch a family-appropriate horror movie.
Halloween is going to be our big family holiday, and it will be magical again.
About the Author:
Sheri White’s stories have been published in many anthologies, including an essay in the Notable Works for the HWA Mental Health Initiative, Flashes of Fantasy, published by Wicked Shadow Press, Tales from the Crust (edited by Max Booth III and David James Keaton), Halldark Holidays (edited by Gabino Iglesias), and The Horror Writers Association’s Don’t Turn Out the Lights (edited by Jonathan Maberry).
Sheri lives in Jefferson, Maryland with her husband Chris, their daughter Lauren, their three black cats (Lucy, Sadie, and Vlad), and two dogs (Dobie and Josie). Their other daughters Sarah and Becca fled the scene last year.