Crouching Tiger, Fluttering Butterfly

In some respects, this has been our first full-fledged Halloween celebration. Elena and I carved a pumpkin as a Family Home Evening activity last week. She helped scoop out the seeds, then chose the shapes for the eyes, nose, mouth, and ears. I added a few flourishes and details while executing the design. Tonight we went to a little Halloween party, then did our first real trick or treating from house to house. Our friends had invited us to their neighborhood, so while we were driving I instructed Elena on how to be as cute as possible, with a big smile and some head bobbing. She practiced for the rest of the drive.

There seemed to be fewer children out than I would have expected, based on my own childhood memories from a similar neighborhood. Is it just the distortions of memory, or is it really true, as some people claim, that there’s less tricking and treating going on these days? That would be a shame–I remember Halloween as a time when the motivation of candy acquisition engaged me imaginatively and analytically, helping me to grow in both dimensions. During one of my prime Halloweening years, when I was probably ten or eleven years old and very into bows and arrows, I sewed my own Robin Hood costume. I spent hours planning my route, even drawing an elaborate map of the neighborhood looking for ways to reach the most houses in the limited time before I had to be home. I see the beginnings of my current self-image in those formative youthful expressions of personality and capability. If not for Halloween and other things like it, would I be the same person today?

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