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Scooby Dooby Doo!

Scooby Dooby Doo!


At first glance, Halloween is a time of superstition. It’s a holiday steeped in the history of ancient pagan festivals. Halloween blurs the lines between life and death. It ushers in the dark, cold days of winter, and offers the chance to ward off ghosts and evil spirits.

But Halloween is also a time of celebration. It’s a chance to play, to create, to use our imaginations. It’s an opportunity to dress up, decorate our yards, gather with friends and eat sweet treats.

While having coffee with a friend this week, I was reflecting on my favorite Halloween memories. I didn’t have to think long or hard. I leaned on my arm, my head tilted, gazing into the distance, and smiled as I recounted the year my mom and I created Scooby Doo costumes for my two young sons. I’m not that creative in the costume department, and not any better with a sewing machine. But with my mom’s help, we transformed two tan-colored sweat suits into adorable representations of the loveable, carefree dog. A little felt, spots made from a black permanent magic marker, the right touch of make-up, cute little ears and a tail completed the look. My boys spent hours in those costumes, acting out their favorite Scooby Doo tales, as though they’d been transported to another world.

It was pure childhood joy.

But then there was the year I was accused of being a Halloween hater. It’s funny now, but it wasn’t so funny back then. As my boys grew up, I wasn’t a fan of scary or gory costumes. I really didn’t want my house covered in orange lights, ghosts or grave markers. I still didn’t feel it was safe enough for them to trick-or-treat on their own. So one year, when I suggested it was time to head back home, my oldest son let me know that I had ruined his whole Halloween experience. There was nothing joyful about it. I had let him down.

Was I a Halloween hater?

I suppose in some ways, he was right. I can’t even watch a scary movie without covering my eyes. The only time I EVER ventured into a haunted house was to impress a boy in high school. I don’t like blood or gore or anything that reminds me of death. There are a lot of things about Halloween that I could do without.

But then I remember all the things I love – helping kids bob for apples at school parties, toasting hot dogs around a bonfire, carving pumpkins and listening to my kids plan their costumes for weeks leading up to October 31st. Halloween gives me the opportunity to celebrate the harvest season, to bask in the glow of the changing leaves, to stop and inhale the crisp air of fall, to watch my neighborhood come alive with the laughter of kids.

For being a holiday that focuses on death, Halloween is also a chance to celebrate life.

Adele Brookman, a counselor from San Francisco is known for her quote about imagination. “Use your imagination, not to scare yourself to death, but to inspire yourself to life.” While I don’t think Adele related this thought to Halloween when she wrote it, I find it very fitting. Halloween gives us, and our kids, the chance to use our imaginations to inspire.

So again this year on Halloween, I won’t have spent hours on a costume or decorated my house, but I will be doing my favorite thing. If you drive over to the Cascades, you’ll find me sitting in the living room, eating homemade pizza with friends, waiting anxiously but patiently for the bell to ring. Then I’ll jump up, scurry to the door, grab my big white bowl full of candy, and turn the knob with anticipation, wondering what I’ll find on the other side. And whether it’s a teenager dressed as the grim reaper, or a little blonde-headed girl smiling innocently in her princess dress, I will be basking in the joy of life and imagination.

I am not a Halloween hater.

Scooby Dooby Doo!

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