Halloween is Geoff’s favorite holiday, perhaps driven by childhood parties with pumpkins, candy, and costumes, given his Oct. 25 birthday. It’s important to Geoff that we DRESS up for Halloween– generally thematically around what our children want to be. The first year they were really able to trick or treat, we were a family of bald eagles and Geoff was the daddy eagle who also sat in his own nest, a brown spray painted kiddie pool with a hole cut out of the middle to go around his body and rest on his wheels. Our daughter sat in the nest when she grew tired of flapping her wings trick or treating. However, he could not pass through any doors, a size complication we did not foresee. As Geoff’s wife and mother to our children, my role on Halloween, as someone who doesn’t really enjoy costumes, is to facilitate a happy Halloween experience for my 7, 8, and now 48 year old at home. We carve pumpkins, build or buy costumes, consider accessories, and trick or treat in our community.
There were the years of super heroes, Star Wars characters, zombie cowboys, and this year, our most recent Halloween, a family of skeletons. Our daughter wanted to be a “teenager skeleton,” so we hairsprayed her ponytail for more height. Our son wanted to be a “skateboarder zombie skeleton,” so we gave him a bloody meat cleaver to replace the skateboard, and that seemed to appease him. I was a soccer mom skeleton, and Geoff wore a skeleton tee shirt and balaclava (winter face mask for those of you unfamiliar) with a printed skeleton face. Of course, this year’s costumes came about because we have a service dog now, and no one wanted him to feel left out; although I’m pretty certain he did not love his costume as much as the children. Fortunately for Geoff, our friend Michelle LOVES Halloween as much as he does and puts on an old school party of epic proportions complete with bobbing for apples and swinging at a ghost pinata.
Halloween is the end of fall, the beginning of winter technically, but we’ve already had inches of snow and cold weather and fired up the woodstove. Geoff heads to Colorado for his first week of PSIA team training on snow and generally misses trick or treating with the family; we patiently await snowmaking to begin in our mountains at home. Our children love snow as much as their Daddy, so that the first morning we woke up to a snow covered ground, they ran outside and danced barefoot in their jammies, scooping up fistfulls in plastic bowels wondering, “Did it snow this much at Lukas’ house? Because if it didn’t, we should bring him some because he loves to eat snow more than anybody.” There is something magical and unyielding about those first few flakes of winter– that it seems impossible it could be snowing in October. That there really isn’t anything more beautiful than the tops of mountains covered in snow while the tree line remains blanketed in the oranges, yellows and reds of peak foliage, now since passed. I’m not ready to dance barefoot in it yet, though, like the rest of my family.
I swear my kids dance in the snow barefoot because they know– and understand and believe deep in their hearts– that their dad would if he could, but he can’t, so they do it for him. As much as I want to sigh and yell at them to put boots and socks on, I can’t bring myself to. Their cold, wet toes help their dad to feel the snow on his feet again. Their love of Halloween costumes and assorted accessories remind him of him as a kid. This is not the overwhelming cold and snow of January when I worry about shoveling us out in time to get to our jobs or our pipes freezing while at work. This is the early magic of late fall when early snow erases our faults and imperfections, disguises the torn up lawn which wasn’t reseeded in time to grow grass, and reminds us of childhood–the hope of what’s to come in a new season, the mountains, snow forts, sledding hills and snowmen to be conquered one frosty flake at a time. The lawn furniture, river rafts, bikes, and soccer balls have been bedded down for a long winter’s nap, and we wait for winter to come for real.