One of the challenges of being transient for so many months is maintaining traditions. Since I don't always have all the tools I am accustomed to having at home, I find myself turning to Amazon frequently for the items that are missing in any given rental home and yet essential to continuing our favorite family customs. However, Amazon hasn't been easy or quick as we head deeper into the west. Their long delivery times, even with Prime, makes it difficult to coordinate getting what we need to the right address on time. But we make it work.
Like most families, Halloween has always been a favorite holiday in our home. Each year, since they have been in preschool, we have invited the kids' friends over for Halloween cupcake decorating parties. They have loved decorating our doorway and foyer a month in advance and I loved seeing the themes getting spookier each year.
Dressing up and trick-or-treating is of course the highlight of the holiday. This year, due to Covid, we won't be dressing up or trick-or-treating. Instead, I stocked up on candy (which is really what they love most about Halloween), we will watch a scary movie and enjoy a Halloween themed dinner (think Mummy Calzones). My husband and I will stand behind each door in the house that we rented in Palm Springs so they can simulate trick or treating and walk around from door to door collecting candy. It will be the two of us behind each door with different greetings or accents awaiting their knocks. We have no choice but to get creative. The difficult part is that we check in to the home on Halloween giving us very little time to whip up a festive dinner and get in the spirit. Luckily the Halloween ghouls and goblins are helping us ease the pressure. Most homes have a 4:00pm check in. The home in Palm Springs is the only we have rented yet that has a 3:00pm check in. This extra hour is such a blessing!
In true tradition, a week before the holiday we baked and decorated cupcakes and carved pumpkins as we have done every year. The table wasn't filled with a dozen or so of their friends decorating with them, but they had fun together. That is all we have these days - each other. As much as they need their friends and social interactions, I am also secretly loving the bonding they are experiencing during the pandemic. If it were up to me, they would be spending all their time together, always.
(last row of pictures were updated after post was published)
From a mom's perspective it is difficult to maintain a sense of normalcy when deep down I know there is nothing normal about being on the road for almost four months and there definitely isn't anything normal about social distancing and living through a pandemic. With a little effort, it is quite simple to perpetuate a sense of regularity and routine. The end result might not be exactly as customary but together we learn to adapt and make the best of a situation.
I won't lie though. As I look back at pictures from just one year ago I get a twinge of sadness. Everything was so "normal". The kids were all dressed up. We attended our building's Halloween Party. We went trick-or-treating. They celebrated with their friends. They dressed up at school. They marched in school Halloween parades. They are glowing with joy in all the pictures I have stored. It is an impossible task to replicate the excitement that comes with seeing thousands of people walking around NYC in costumes and getting together with friends as everyone is decked out.
What are they really thinking in their young minds about all the changes they are experiencing? They say that they are looking forward to Halloween this year, but are they? How can they be excited when so much has changed?
Nothing is less than ideal unless we allow it to be. Did you know that this year we will get a Blue Moon on Halloween? That's a pretty cool, fair exchange in my eyes. The universe takes a little bit and gives some back. It's just the natural course of things.
As parents, it's our job to create the most ideal space for our family in any given circumstance. So, that's what we do. We adjust and roll with it. In our case, we do so with the help of four wheels on the road.
Wishing everyone a beautifully different October 31st this year. Happy Halloween!