It seems like every year we sacrifice our own desire for family traditions to meet the needs of our extended family members. Since we are the only ones that don’t live close to family, we are always the ones stuck traveling across the state to be there for birthdays, Thanksgivings, 4th of Julys, Christmases, you name it. Because of the travel, we are always missing out on things our own community has to offer. I truly feel we’ve struggled planting our feet in our community because of travel. We have been so stuck remaking old memories and upholding our childhood traditions that we’ve lost sight of creating memories and new traditions for our little ones. As our girls grow older, I’ve decided it’s time for a change. No more sacrificing Christmas morning under own our tree. No more stuffing our faces with turkey as we quickly move onto the next house full of turkey. No more sacrificing our community treat or treat for someone else’s. It’s time to really find our balance and make traditions for our little family of four.
Trick or Treat is a huge event in our neighborhood. People from surrounding communities travel into our neighborhood merely for trick or treating. Some of our neighbors pass out full size candy bars, dress up into costumes, and even decorate the outside of their houses. It’s a huge event for the neighborhood, and I was so glad we decided to participate this year. In past years, we’ve invited family to join us in this endeavor. I always felt like the spotlight was taken off of my own children. They weren’t able to enjoy the tradition of walking the streets with just mom and dad. We were all preoccupied and overwhelmed by the other kids or families that we completely overlooked our own family of four. This year was very different. We walked the neighborhood as a family and when we were done, we utilized the rest of the time to pass out candy to the other kids. We utilized the time to merely enjoy each other’s company. A special event created for us to just enjoy one another and our own community.
Lexington Trick or Treat is always the Thursday night prior to Halloween. It runs for an hour and a half and towards the end of the event, the sky becomes quite dark. We were running late as usual, so our endeavor didn’t begin until 5-10 minutes after it started. Alaina was not pleased with her costume and refused to wear it in it’s entirety. How dare I force her to wear her favorite costume that she chooses to wear every other day of the year. Eloise was completely the opposite. She was ready to go and so excited to dress up in her costume. When we walked out the front door, her eyes lit up.
Eloise Grace as Princess Elena of Avalor
“Oh my god, Mommy! Look at all those kids! Look at their costumes. There’s a ghost. There’s Peppa Pig. Oh gosh, Mommy. Can we go see them?”
Alaina refused to be put down. She insisted that her dad carry her around. We approached the first house, and Eloise was super polite. She said, “trick or treat,” and “thank you,” before moving onto the next house. I was so proud of her for stepping outside of her comfort zone and really jumping into character. After about 4 or 5 houses, Alaina’s mind started to click. Almost as though a light bulb was turned on. You could see the wheels turning in her head and could almost hear her say, “You mean if I walk up to these people and say ‘thank you’ they’ll just hand me candy??” All of the sudden, she demanded to be put down and sprinted to each house utterly delighted.
I didn’t think the girls would last very long as the weather was a bit cold and windy. But I was wrong. They walked double our usually nightly walk and loved ringing doorbells and talking with all of our neighbors. Eloise presented her sister to each person and discussed how her own dress was too long in the front. At some houses, the girls took handfuls of candy and because they “were so cute,” the neighbors encouraged them to take more! I guess trick or treat is all about the candy, but dear God I didn’t want all this junk in my house!
Alaina Paige as Minnie Mouse
When the girls became too cold, they requested to walk home and pass out more candy to kids. They ran up to the kids and squealed “Happy Halloween” with such joy. Eloise would scream across the street demanding the kids walk over so she could hand them more candy. When the girls became disinterested, they sat in the driveway and began to chow down on their own candy. Trick or treat ended, and we all went inside and enjoyed a nice warm fire. It was fun to see all of the treats the girls received and warm up, snuggling together under blankets. We finished the evening watching Spookley the Square Pumpkin as the girls devoured candy and my husband and I enjoyed a few glasses of wine.
This year it was nice to create our own family traditions… to not let the pressure of our extended family dictate our plans. It was nice to have no pressure and focus on the fun we could have with just our girls. We were invited a few days later to travel to our hometown for that trick or treat event. I declined. I’ve slowly come to realize that it’s perfectly ok to decline opportunities we have to spend time with extended family and spend time as a family of four. I should never feel guilty or pressured to make other family happy when I’m failing to make my own family happy. My girls had an absolute blast trick or treating in our community this year… and for them, that was enough. Maybe that won’t be the case every year, but for now, it works for us.
Happy Halloween, everyone!!
May you take time for yourself and soak up those moments you have with your loved ones!
The husband and I strategically planning how we will hide and eat all the girls’ candy.