I am convinced that if Halloween was accompanied by more presents, it would easily outrank Christmas in Levi’s mind. He is a nut for Halloween. Greg and I are pretty baffled by his love for all things creepy and eerie but we have tried in recent years to get into the Halloween Spirit with him and have taken him Trick-Or-Treating every year since he was old enough to carry his own little pumpkin.
Last night was the first year we decided to trick or treat in our own little neck of the woods with some friends from Levi’s school. They had an absolute blast hitting the streets and begging candy off strangers and we adults were just pleased as punch it was actually pleasant outside and we weren’t dripping with sweat with every step.
But by far my favorite part of the evening was sitting on the porch of our friend’s home and handing out candy to all of the little princesses and Harry Potters and Batmans. There’s something about putting on a costume or a mask that gives you a little more freedom. Kids come a little more alive when they realize adults leave the boring humdrum of bills and jobs and responsibility and dust off their imaginations for a few hours. The lines are blurred on Halloween between kid and adult and both parties are all the better for it.
And here’s where a lightning bolt hit me. Each time a kid coming up to the porch was engaged by an adult in a way that blurred that line, their entire demeanor changed. When a Batman was told thank you for protecting our city he walked away with his plastic chest a little puffed out. When a little police officer was given the respect and admiration we should give to our men and women in blue, a wide smile broke out on their lips as they collected their candy. Even when the big kid, who was pretending to only be in it for the free candy, was acknowledged for how scary their Pennywise was or how terrifying their fake blood looked, they couldn’t help but saunter off with an extra pep in their step. You know why? Because someone was reinforcing an idea they monstrously wanted to believe about them self. When you think about it, even though we all hide behind masks on Halloween, its actually a very vulnerable holiday. We display on the outside what we really hope to be on the inside. Even the big scary kids in terrifying clown costumes are really just hoping to be noticed and admired.
So what happens if I take my little Halloween revelation and I start applying to my every day life with how I parent or interact with the people I love? What if I start speaking out loud the truth I see them display about themselves every day? What if I acknowledge when a brave friend does a hard thing? What if I remind a co-worker how smart they are and show them I see how hard they work? What if I tell Levi how kind I saw him be to someone when he thought no one was noticing?
What if I reinforce to the people I love that I see who they desperately desire to be and what if I tell them how much I love who they want to become? What if I let my pride down and breathe life into someone with my words instead of building up fences and barriers around my heart? In a dog eat dog world, it’s a vulnerable thing to praise someone else. But what if I do it anyways?
Under the darkness of Halloween we are all just kids furiously wishing we can really grow up to be impressive superheroes and brave princesses and imaginative wizards. I’d like to argue I think we can still be those things on the morning after when the sugar rush has faded and the ghosts have run back to their shadows. We simply need to call out the character we see in one another. It’s dying to come out to play.