The first Halloween I remember took place 28 years ago. My mom was a gigantic mouse, I was a little, black cat. She held my hand as we maneuvered through a crowded gymnasium full of orange and black balloons. I felt safe and special clinging to her grey fur.
Another Halloween, she dressed up as a witch with a rubber, wart-covered nose and read to my first-grade class. Everyone wanted to know our visitor’s true identity. I told no one. Part of me was not completely convinced she really was my mom beneath all that make-up.
A few years later, instead of trick-or-treating, I attended a Halloween party in another kid’s backyard. Beneath a canopy of little glowing lights and a fog of dry ice, we raced around in near-darkness, bobbed for apples, and reached into magic boxes filled with gooey parts, all while dressed like goblins and princesses.
Halloween is alive again. As I reach back to my childhood for the memories I want to create for E., I realize it is not about pillowcases full of candy. It is about make-believe. Next year I want to start a tradition of backyard parties and better-coordinated family costumes. As an adult, I have never truly understood why other grown-ups get so excited about this holiday, until now. Childhood, again.