If my fall-themed posts didn’t warn you already, I should probably tell you now that I love Halloween. I used to start planning my costumes months in advance, I threw Halloween gatherings most years in college, and even as an adult I’ve probably carved pumpkins more years than not.
My devotion to costumes has waned in recent years, but I still love the holiday. When I lived in Clinton Hill, I sat on my stoop and handed out candy to the endless crowd of trick-or-treaters parading down Washington Ave. The first year I carved a pumpkin with a cat on it from a pattern, and one little girl was so impressed that I’d carved it “all by yourself!!” Carving must not be as usual here as it is back home.
Last year I was at my apartment on Halloween—my office was shut due to Hurricane Sandy—and while I ventured out and saw the kids’ Halloween parade in Park Slope, I didn’t get any trick-or-treaters at my then-apartment before I headed to a friend’s party. I have higher hopes for my new neighborhood.
My family’s Halloween night traditions include making chili to warm us up before trick-or-treating, and for years after I left for college, the siblings of my neighborhood friends would stop by our house to warm up, drink some cider, and sometimes eat a bit of chili. This weekend I had friends over to celebrate the holiday, and chili and cider were critical items on the menu.
I may not be able to easily pick a pumpkin from a patch in NYC (unless you go out to Queens to check out the Queens Country Farm, which I’ve yet to do), at least not without the hassle of carrying it home on public transportation. I don’t have a good spot to display a jack-o-lantern, and I’ll probably never have a front stoop of my own to decorate with ghosts and cobwebs. But there are some traditions I can continue, or can change to suit my life in New York. They provide continuity between my past and present, and add a beat to the rhythm of each year. As I get older and have fewer markers of time passing, the few I observe become more important.
Any Halloween traditions to share, both old and new?