Saturday is Halloween. It’s also the first day of the Well Read Hostess Holiday and Celebration Ultramarathon.
We kick it off on Saturday with trick-or-treating, and the festivities just keep coming until a birthday celebration for the girl child in January. Fun? yes. Lots of quality family and friend time? Yes. Great memories in the making? Yes. Daunting to look at from this end of the racecourse? Yes.
I teach young high school students, most of whom are as excited about Halloween as my young elementary school children are. Halloween seems to be the last “kid” holiday that they are willing to give up. Thanksgiving is no longer about dressing up like Pilgrims or Indians and and having a these days entirely nut and dairy free feast in the school cafeteria. The magic of Christmas has been replaced by the thrill of getting the new ipod or the new Uggs. Birthdays aren’t about cupcakes in school and having your class sing to you during snack time; instead they represent one step closer to a driver’s license and one year nearer to having to worry about getting into college.
But Halloween has no strings attached. These normally jaded and toocoolforschool young adolescents are surprisingly unsheepish about their desire to dress up and get candy from their neighbors, despite the fact that during the rest of the year, they spend insane amounts of energy and time trying to seem older and more sophisticated than their 14 years.
Many of them figured out today that The Great Pumpkin that they have seen on the lawn of a house in their hometown every year was constructed and put there by TWGH. They beg me to get him to raise it up again this year. Sorry honey, but would you mind…
The 14 going on 28 girls who pick at their salads at lunchtime accept a handful of mini chocolate bars gleefully and gratefully.
Boys use my dry erase markers to draw elaborate skeletons and bats on the whiteboard as they wait for the lesson to begin.
Kids pass notes to each other about who has a blond wig to borrow and who will be in what neighborhood at what time and do you know if that one particular he or she will be there???
Friday afternoons before school vacations or big dances or even weekends promising snow are tough as a teacher. Teenagers bounce off the walls with literature and the writing process absolutely dead last on their minds. Today, however, they are excited, but they have forgotten about being too over it all and crank out their work joyfully. The anticipation of this particular holiday, anyway, allowing them to be the best kind of kid: enthusiastic, spirited, youthful, and willing to trust the adult in their midst.
Their souls have crept out of the trees, at least until their mythology unit test on Monday.