Enjoying Halloween in different ways


By Travis Mounts, managing editor

Over the years, Halloween has become a different kind of Halloween for me. My anticipation and excitement are much less than they used to be.
I do not think less of this celebration centered around costumes and candy. Instead, I think, my life has simply morphed into something where the night of ghouls and ghosts simply does not push the meter like it used to.
Of course, Halloween is just a step behind Christmas when you are a child. It’s a holiday that in many ways is about kids. Just imagine a Christmas stocking the size of a grocery bag, and everything in it you can put in your mouth and get a sugar buzz that will possibly make you throw up.
As a young adult, Halloween is about the parties. Sure, there is candy. Most of the people I knew in my 20s were more interested in liquid treats, and the effort that went into costumes skyrocketed. The end of each October was an opportunity to show your creativity, often in adult-themed ways that were subtle and, well, obvious.
Then came parenthood. When my oldest son, Isaac, was 3 years old, he wore the Superman costume that my mom had made many years before for one of my younger brothers. Even a 3-year-old kid knows Superman can fly, so I wound up carrying my son in a prone position from house to house for much of the night. I still have muscles sore from that.
The next year was a Halloween bust. We spent Halloween night driving back from my grandmother’s funeral in Oklahoma. There was no trick-or-treating, but a 4-year-old kid can be shielded from the holiday pretty easily. My youngest son, Aaron, was just a few months old, so it’s not like he truly missed out on anything.
A few years later, Halloween had come and gone by a few days and we still had pumpkins we had not carved. I was a single dad by that point, and I knew the boys had carved pumpkins at their mom’s house. Since it was early November, carving pumpkins did not generate much excitement.
When my boys asked me what we were going to do with the pumpkins, inspiration struck. I sent one kid into the garage to get baseball bats, and the other helped me carry the pumpkins off the front porch and to the back yard.
We had as much fun as we’ve ever had beating those pumpkins until there was nothing left. How often is a young boy given permission to indulge his basic instincts to smash something just because? It remains one of our favorite Halloween memories.
We recreated this fun a couple of years later. Instead of beating big ones, we had mini pumpkins that we tried to hit for distance. I highly recommend that, too.
These days, it seems a lot of my Halloween nights are spent working, either covering high school football games, State volleyball tournaments or any of our local community Halloween events. Most of those events were not around when my kids were small.
My current home draws a fair amount of car traffic, but I’m not on a popular street for trick-or-treaters. If I’m home on Sunday night, I plan to have some candy ready to give away. If I get 20 kids through the course of the night, I’ll consider it a success.
And then I’ll take all the leftovers and pretend I’m a kid once again, seeing just how much candy I can eat before I’m filled with regret.