As a small child, Scooby Doo gave me nightmares. Since cartoon ghosts were too much for me to handle, the real-life ghosts and masks of Halloween absolutely terrified me. So as a three-year-old I refused to participate in the trick-or-treating that my mom had planned for me. My mother, who is an avid fan of Halloween, would not take no for an answer, and came up with an offer I couldn’t refuse. She agreed to dress up with me for our Halloween festivities.
That Halloween my mom and I traveled around my small Minnesota town dressed up as “housewives.” We wore matching robes and slippers, put our hair up in curlers and carried mops. (In hindsight, this was not a very politically correct costume, but it was the early eighties, and my mom was, at the time, a stay-at-home mom.)
My mom and I had a fabulous time that Halloween, and as the years passed, I overcame my fears. However, a tradition had been born, and my mom continued to dress up in costumes for as long as she accompanied my brothers and I on our trick-or-treating adventures. She became infamous in our neighborhood for her creative costumes. Her appearance as an underwater construction worker was my personal favorite. And I was very impressed with the costume she created for her stint as a lumberjack, including a very realistic beard constructed from coffee grounds and Vaseline.
The Halloween that our family tradition was born was one of many times in my life that my mom has encouraged me to try new things, despite my fears. But her years of commitment to Halloween taught me an even more important lesson: You are never too old to act like a kid again.