October is here and I’m panicking to make my child a costume. Alright, alright, I mean panicking to find one to buy or bor-row. I often leave tasks like this to the last minute and end up being a witch or ghost, again. I want more for my son. Or do I?

What is Halloween really about for us as a family? What traditions do I want to culti-vate for our growing clan? What do I want him to remember?

Looking back on my own Halloweens’ past, there are several cringe worthy mo-ments. The year I decided to go as Beavis to my best friend’s Butt-head was a deadly mistake. That mask had what seemed to be nonexistent breathing holes and I spent most of the evening suffocating in my own sweat. Or the year I begged my mom to special order me a cheerleading costume, only to receive a one size fits all poncho with the somewhat recognizable painted on cheer uniform. Only now do I see that it didn’t matter what we wore.

What stands out were my younger Hal-loweens when we were at our Dad’s house. He was never one for celebrating commer-cial holidays, (did I mention he rocked a mean ponytail), so we would find ourselves searching through our closets for funny scarves and hats, minutes before trick or treating time. I would often go as a dead gypsy after Dad ran out to the store for co-loured hairspray and fake blood. While my brother would get wrapped in toilet paper from head to toe for the third year in a row to be a deadly zombie… Not the best costume for our rainy west coast climate. Again, it didn’t matter. We were laughing our heads off in the mad scramble and ex-citement of it all. That’s what I remember, the laughter. 

I don’t remember the candy, although I’m sure it was my reason for living at the time, but I do remember splashing through puddles with my neighbours and their kids as we ran through the winding streets, lanes and cul-de-sacs. I remem-ber the joy and freedom of staying up late on a school night. And most vividly, I remember howling at the moon to my Dad’s annual joke: ‘I used to be a werewolf but I’m alright nooooowwwwwwww-woooooooooooooooooooooo!’ 

It is not trick or treating that was impor-tant but rather the time spent together as a family.

Last year was my son’s first Halloween and trick or treating experience. The boy had no teeth! Clearly it was not about the costume or the candy, it was about getting together with family and friends, having fun and visiting our neighbours. We visited both Trinity Lodge and the Rocky Moun-tain Care Village. Everyone was dressed up and smiling. People were talking, say-ing hello, connecting. Lennox had just mastered the wave and was excited to get a reaction. It was beautiful to see everyone together, young and old. 

This year may look a bit different but I still hope that we can gather as a com-munity, from safe distances, and say hello. Fernie has never let this pandemic stand in the way of its celebrations and chances to come together as a community, even if it is through a screen. This fall, I am thankful for this strange holiday that we take part in, as our own form of harvest. 

My partner is Australian and had never celebrated Halloween before coming to Canada. He doesn’t really understand it. Together, we’ve decided to create mean-ing around it for ourselves. Many could say that Halloween has become too com-mercial, but instead I choose to look at the positives that this holiday brings. A reason to come together, to open our doors to strangers, to connect. Most importantly, 
it leaves us with memories and those are truly the only currency of real value. So here’s to your family and your traditions! I know that this year, without my dad, I’ll be sure to tell his classic joke to anyone who will listen.

Happy Halloween Fernie!