Halloween is…different here

Ah, my favorite month is upon us! I always look forward to October every year.

Fall events are in full swing, with football games, crisp evenings, and the rustle of leaves.

Roadside stands are laden with pumpkins and Indian corn.

And we’re in a month-long lead-up to the reason October is my favorite month – Halloween.

I have to admit that most of my fun right now is because we have a pre-schooler in the house. During these precious few years where Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and yes, the Great Pumpkin are believed in, it gives me a chance to vicariously catch that excitement.

Growing up in the Midwest, Halloween was quite a production. We lived in a sprawling subdivision where every house was open on Halloween night. You knew everyone, and it was a huge party as all the neighborhood kids trick-or-treated and showed off their home-made costumes. And since my Mom has a Halloween birthday, our house was the rockingest on the block.

Halloween in California is…well…different. Now we live in a sprawling subdivision where all the houses are fenced in, so we know very few of our neighbors. Last year, when we took our kid trick-or-treating for the first time, only every 4th or 5th house was open.

Stingy! Our child was of course happy to trick-or-treat, and had fun…but given what I grew up with, it was a let-down for me. A kid with a pillowcase would be hard-pressed to fill it in our neighborhood.

This year, we’re in gear on spreading out Halloween fun throughout the month. Different than I grew up with, but not bad…just different.

We trucked out the first weekend to the pumpkin farm (the sight of an entire field of pumpkins! I highly recommend it over your local superstore), and picked out just the right ones to decorate our fireplace. The second weekend, we headed to a Halloween spooktacular to benefit our local County park – a nighttime train ride and haunted house.

We still have the preschool field trip to a pumpkin farm and the school party, which seems to be the norm here. So many schools and malls have “safe and sane” daytime Halloween events, that families seem to have decided not to bother with Halloween night.

The only thing missing is that collective neighborhood excitement on All Hallow’s Eve, as houses light up and kids race around in costume. I have to admit, it would be nice to meet the neighbors.

2 Responses to “Halloween is…different here”
  1. Oh, Grace, I loved your post:) I remember my brother and I trick or treating for *hours*. We filled quite a few Kroger bags…back when they were huge and paper not plastic! We’ve always tried to give our kids great Halloween memories, but they listen with wide eyes to our stories of the way it used to be.

    One thing I loved that we can still find in our area today is the tradition of corn mazes. The larger the field, the greater the challenge and adventure!

  2. Grace Conley says:

    Oh, Barbara, you’re right — mazes! I love’em. Farms don’t seem to do cornfield mazes here, but they do set up hay bale mazes. You just added to my list for this weekend! 🙂

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