Even as a child, Halloween wasn’t my favorite holiday. As an adult I came to loathe it intensely. Trick-or-Treaters were already out in full force before I arrived home from work. I’d carefully navigate my car through the streets of our housing development, watching out for the hordes of ghosts, witches, princesses and action heroes who refused to stay on the sidewalk. Each year we increased our candy purchase, but every year trick-or-treaters outpaced our stockpile of treats. As a young couple, it got to be financially difficult and a little more than crazy!
Our daughter was two and a half years of age when we adopted her on October 5. We were faced with a choice of adding her to throngs who scavenged for sweets, attending the popular harvest parties that were springing up as an alternative to roaming the streets, or not celebrating the holiday at all. We opted for attending a harvest party so she could still get candy (although limited) and enjoy a fun evening with other children.
We were still uncomfortable with our decision. We felt that we were teaching her that once a year, for no reason whatsoever, she was owed more candy than she could possibly imagine (and believe me, this child had a huge imagination!). That’s not what we wanted her to learn.
Above all else, we wanted her to know she was loved and how very thankful we were to have her in our family. I wanted to celebrate her in the same way she would be celebrating us on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. That’s when it hit me that we could transform Halloween into Kid’s Day!
Every year we’ve celebrated Kid’s Day on Oct. 31 and made a point to be thankful for our children. When they were still living at home, they’d take turns each year choosing their favorite restaurant for dinner. We usually took them to a harvest party in the community, as well. Then every day between Kid’s Day and Thanksgiving we chose something specific for which to be thankful.
It became a fun tradition, and although they outgrew the harvest parties long ago, they still like to be treated to dinner. My daughter-in-law made a point to tell my son that they only have a few years left of choosing a restaurant before their four-month-old (my granddaughter) starts making her opinion known. I guess the tradition lives on…