The Lessons We Learned This Dreary Halloween

Halloween 2014 started out cold and overcast as my golden ninja and police officer got ready for school.

By the time my sister and I ran over to the school to be volunteers in the classroom Halloween parties, the wind was whipping so violently that a tree fell and blocked our way out of the alley behind our condo and we had to reroute our journey.

After school, as we stood in the school hallway putting on coats, we looked out the window and saw that it was snowing.

We went home for an early dinner and to put long johns under costumes and, intermittently, were called to the window to see some fresh horror.

Now it’s hailing.

Now it is snowing heavily and the wind is such that the snow is blowing perfectly horizontally.  Like a blizzard.

I will admit I dragged my feet a little.  Yes, we were going trick-or-treating in it but…you know…maybe in a half hour it’d be a little nicer….

It never really got much nicer.

At around 5:20 we could no longer delay.  We bundled up as best we could and we marched out into it – just like we did last year in the pouring rain. 

We, and a handful of other intrepid souls, braved the elements in search of adventure and candy and we came home with all that and a few life lessons as well.

  1. The anticipation is worse than the reality.  I think this is nearly always true.  The fear and dread you experience when you are facing something you perceive to be kinda awful is always worse than the actual thing.  Staring out that window, it looked like a blizzard.  Once out in it, though, it just felt like, you know, freezing rain and biting hail.
  2. Bravery and effort and gumption are admired and rewarded.  There were very few other trick-or-treaters out.  As such, the kids in our group (five total) were showered with praise and given permission to take large quantities of candy at each stop.  The handle on Pip’s pumpkin snapped from the weight.  They seriously cleaned up in the candy department.
  3. JUST DO IT.  I know that’s that old Nike slogan but, damnit, it is so often appropriate in life.  Just get out there and do it if you want to do it.  That’s the most important lesson of all.  There are so few times in life when all the pieces of the puzzle will come together.  There are so few perfect moments.  Most of what you get in life is a mish-mash of wonderful and awful and status quo all at the same time.

You have to train yourself to find the wonderful.  No one is going to hand it to you on a platter. 

You have to train yourself to look past the imperfection of the situation and focus on the magic of it.

The temperature was hovering right around freezing Halloween night.  The sky was spitting a steady rain/snow mix.  The wind, though considerably calmer than it had been, was still blowing the wet cold right through our coats.  At one point, there was a deluge of tiny hail that the wind whipped right into our faces and it stung like a hundred ant bites.

But the kids were giggling and chatting and running and skipping.  The people in the houses were smiling and praising.  One of the little girls in our group just came here from Spain and was trick-or-treating for the first time as she is in the US only this one year.  She was overjoyed.  They barely felt the cold and the snow.  They were having too much fun.  (OK, they felt that hail because that was ridiculous…but it was short-lived).

After we finished, we went to the home of one of the little girls and were treated to hot tea and chili and conversation while the children all played in the basement and watched a movie in the living room.  A warm home and good food is all the more wonderful after you’ve been braving the elements for over an hour.  It was heavenly.  It was a great Halloween!

You can’t always predict the storms that are gonna come, yáll.  And there are always fresh storms a-çomin’.  But you get to choose whether or not you brave it or cower. 

You get to choose whether you seek out the joy or mope in the corner.

You get to choose between your gold lame’ ninja pants and your pjs.

I hope you pull on those shiny metallic fancy pants and ring somebody’s bell. 


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