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FESTIVE FAMILY TRADITIONS
Human beings are creatures of habit. Think about it. We wake up at the same time every morning to the same alarm sounds, we commute to and from work on the same busy streets, and we relax on the same sofa watching sitcoms televised on the same night every week. Our daily rituals are built on our desire for stability, and during the holiday season, we work even harder to preserve annual routines. These traditions often stem from experiences we had growing up, and they are then passed down like family heirlooms, gaining sentimentality with each generation. Ever since I became a father, I have tried to replicate the amazing experiences I had as a child for my two girls. When I reflect on my childhood Halloween celebrations specifically, I recognize the awesome world my family created for me and the importance of maintaining these traditions in the years to come.
biggest ones we can find. Last year, our pumpkins reached nearly 50 pounds! We load up the monstrous gourds, take them home, and set them out on the front porch. Once Halloween approaches, we bring the pumpkins back inside to thaw after sitting out in the wintry Michigan air. We cut into them, carving out big, toothy, orange smiles. While we are more traditional in our pumpkin artistry, my sister and brother-in-law take the event much more seriously. They will print out intricate sketches, trace them on the pumpkins, and spend hours perfecting their work. Sometimes they’ll even buy practice pumpkins to test their skills. With the pumpkins perched prettily on the porch at the end of this month, my wife and I will do just as my parents did and host a Halloween get-together for our family, friends, and neighbors before the trick-or-treating festivities. Per usual, my daughters have had their costumes picked out since June, and they will hit the sidewalks in their shimmery Disney princess ensembles prepped and ready to separate the good candy houses from the truly great ones. As I said before, while the Halloween traditions we uphold are not all that distinctive, they have helped create some of the best memories I’ve had both as child and as an adult. I can only hope that in the years to come, I will get to see my daughters carry on these wonderful traditions with their own families.
In our earlier years, my friends and I would stake out the houses with the best candy. If you trick-or-treated as a kid, then you know the drill. Avoid the houses that give out pennies or half-wrapped butterscotches; always hit up the ones that give king-size candy bars and Coca-Cola. I decided I was too old for trick-or-treating after eighth grade, but I made my last costume my best one yet; I went as the Headless Horseman. I put a lot of planning into perfecting the overall aesthetic. People loved this costume so much that I repurposed the costume several years later in college, and it killed! My costume-wearing days are long over, but the fun Halloween traditions have only gotten better. Each year, my wife and I get our families together and take a trip to an idyllic apple orchard out in the countryside near the beginning of October. We will drag a little Red Flyer wagon behind us as we scour the pumpkin fields for the
“My costume-wearing days are long over, but the fun Halloween traditions have only gotten better.”
My childhood traditions, though very important to me, probably aren’t that different from anyone else’s. At school, my classmates and I changed into our costumes and had a party during the latter half of the day. Then, when I got home, my family hosted a short rendezvous party for other families and friends before heading out into the community to collect pounds of Halloween candy from our neighbors.
–Kyle Matthews 1 (248) 543-0340
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