Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

All Hallow's Eve... One of my favorite days of the year-- the chill in the air, the cool breeze, the smell...

I LOVE the smell of Halloween.  I don't even know how to put it into words to accurately describe it, but there is something so personal about it for me--the smell of Halloween just lingering in the air tugs at my heartstrings.

I have always been fascinated by how scent is so very much tied to our memories.  I'm sure I'll write a post about it in the future, in fact.  But, for Halloween especially, scent is tied to my memory.  I don't know if it's the smell of fire in the air as it mingles with the dampness that is usually present in the evenings on Halloween in California, but it just makes me feel happy--and very, very nostalgic.

From a very early age I remember loving Halloween.  I would get so excited for days in advance--perhaps even weeks (months? Mom, help me out?).  Then, the day would finally (finally!) arrive.  The family would come over, my mom would make chili (which as The World's Pickiest Eater I would not eat, but no matter), and cornbread (which I would eat) and my cousin and I would go trick-or-treating after we took pictures in front of the fireplace showcasing our adorableness-- (see below evidence of cousin Chad as a baseball player, and me as a bunny).  I just remember being... happy.  So happy that everyone was together, that we would all walk around the neighborhood, and I'd get free candy, and people would tell me what a cute bunny or bumblebee I was.

Cousin Chad and Little Me circa 1989(?)

It was just happy-- so much so that thinking about it now makes me sort of sad.  I guess I feel sad in the way that only nostalgia can make us sad. In a way that makes me want to go back to those days, when everything was simpler and the problems I faced were so small, the heartbreaks so little ("I got Smarties again?! I HATE Smarties!")

It's funny how often some of our memories do that-- take the good, and leave the bad.  I know my family fought sometimes on Halloween, but I don't remember that--not really.  I just remember the smell of fall in the air, fireplaces burning, and holding my Mom's hand as we walked from house to house.

Fast forward to Halloween 2013.  I still love Halloween, for different reasons--for the memories I have of all those years as a child.  I asked for day shift, went in as early as this night shifter could bear, and have the chili warming in the crockpot, cornbread in the oven (carrying on the tradition from my Mom--after all, I'll eat it now), and a bowl of candy waiting by the door (no Smarties).  And I will wait for the trick-or-treaters to come, and I will tell them what a wonderful cowgirl, witch, ballerina, sheriff they make--and maybe in some of their faces I'll be able to see my cousin--and in some, maybe I will see myself, and for a moment I'll regain all that feels so much like loss.

I know (I hope) someday I will hold the hand of my own little ones, gathering candy and smiles;  until then, I take solace and comfort in warmth of the memories that make me realize how much I had, how lucky I was, and how very much I was loved.

Happy All Hallow's Eve from Natalie and Cash:
Cash & Natalie 2013

Hot Dog, I hope you had a Happy Halloween!

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