Halloween Traditions

I love Halloween. It's been my favorite holiday for as long as I can remember. Spooky things, dressing up in costumes, and candy...it's all awesome! 

We moved around a lot when I was a kid (military brat) so I have only fleeting memories of Halloween in most of the places we lived, but I have strong memories from 4th grade on. One of the things I remember well was the house at the bottom of Bandera Drive in Bedford, MA. That was one street over from my street (we lived on Cot Hill for a few years). At the end of Bandera (it was a dead end street) there was a house with a set of steep steps out in front leading to a small front porch. It was a heavily wooded lot and kinda spooky at night. Every year, the woman who lived there dressed up as a witch. I mean full green face paint, wart, pointed hat and the whole nine. She was terrifying! But in a good way.  You could tell she LOVED Halloween. The outside decorations were always amazing, but when she opened her front door it was like a Halloween wonderland. Spooky music or sound effects, a bubbling cauldron (usually full of hot mulled cider), big bowls full of candy, a tray of homemade popcorn balls, cupcakes or candy apples; it was magical. Most kids got a handful of standard candy treats, but if you were lucky enough to be a kid or parent she knew? She would hook you up with cider and one of her homemade treats too. I was over the moon the year I went trick or treating with a group of kids from around the neighborhood and one of them was friends with The Witch Lady.

At last, I was one of the lucky kids that got invited inside to have a cup of cider and pick out a candy apple. The Halloween IN crowd! I remember making a mental note that, one day, when I had a home of my own, I would take on the mantle of The Witch Lady. Mine would be the house that all the kids talked about. Best treats. Best decorations. Lady answering the door in a cool costume. Something that would make lasting memories for the kids who rang my bell in the future.

For many years we WERE that house. Giant 8 ft. tall inflatable jack-o-lantern, spooky ghost lights around the porch pillars, jingly bat decorations hanging on the screen door and freshly carved pumpkins lining the walkway with spooky music playing. Me? Some years I dressed as a vampire, some as a witch, one year I was Death with my dark hooded cloak and scythe. We gave out treat bags full of candy, toys and stickers or temporary tattoos and something that glowed, for safety. I love stuff that glows in the dark and glow sticks have to be the greatest invention ever. In the past I've passed out hundreds of glow bracelets, necklaces, sticks and other random things.

I got my reward one year when a pack of teens made their way up my front walk and I could hear them talking. One exclaimed "OH! This is the house with the cool glow stuff!" and they all eagerly piled up outside my screen door. That year I had glow earrings on and vampire teeth that had a mini glow stick inside lighting up my mouth when I opened it. I called my look "90's Rave Vampire" and was totally enjoying the effect of having only my head illuminated with eerie blue light while the rest of me was hidden in my black cloak. The teens freaked as soon as they saw me. "Oh my god! Do you have any more of those earrings?? How about the teeth?!?!"  It so happened that I did have a few more sets of earrings, but the teeth were a solo purchase just for my costume. I gave the kids a bunch of glow necklaces and bracelets and two of the girls happily took pairs of glow stick earrings. "Your house is my favorite! I love coming here every year!"

I shut the door, completely overjoyed in that moment. I knew a few of those kids could very well carry the torch. One day, their house would be the IT house on Halloween. I wonder what they will do to make the day special for their neighborhood one day.


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