Sunday, October 28, 2007

Happy Halloween -- by Larry D. Sweazy

So this week brings us Halloween. It is my wife’s favorite holiday of the year. Last year we had almost a hundred trick-or-treaters. She keeps count with a joyous fervor. There’s 10 pounds of candy hidden in the pantry. Our street looks like the Halloween scene out of the movie, ET. It’s pretty cool actually.

Thankfully the days of soaping windows and toilet papering trees are past us—not that I ever engaged in such devious behavior…

Now, we just have a band of cute kids dressed up in all sorts of costumes knocking on the door, and robbing me of my Snickers bars…OK, OK, I don’t mind sharing so much…as long as there’s some Tootsie Rolls left for me.

The cool thing about Halloween is, even in its watered down form from when I was a kid, we still encourage kids to dress up and be something else for a day. A pirate. A witch. A pumpkin. And that’s the best part. Imagination is still a part of our lives…for a day, anyway. We still encourage kids to PLAY dress up.

I loved Halloween as a kid. In the town we grew up in you could trick-or-treat for 3 nights. Throwing corn and soaping windows started a week before. I haven’t seen a soaped window in years. You’d probably get shot or sued today if you did some of the stuff we did as kids (other kids--like I said, I never did any of that stuff, I swear).

It was innocent fun, but now that I’m older, it really wasn’t as harmless as I thought was at the time. There are few tricks in my neighborhood, and in a way, the edge has been taken off Halloween for me because of that…

Anyway, back to imagination, which is what this post is all about. The great thing about being a writer is that is Halloween every day for us. We get to play any character we want, dress them up, put in them in exotic locations, and if we're lucky, our work finds an audience and a reader will tell us that we touched their heart, made them laugh, took them away from their problems for a day. That’s better than a sack full of Snicker’s Bars if you ask me.

But we have to grow our imagination, allow it to bloom. Halloween is a seed. Those little goblins who are coming to your door begging for chocolate Wednesday could be the future writers of their generation—learning what it feels like to be a pirate for a day, so maybe they can be a writer for life. Think about that when you open the door to the chorus of trick-or-treat, and how Halloween fed your imagination as a writer. I bet it makes you smile just a little more.

Now I’m off to find that bag of Tootsie Rolls my wife hid from me…I know it's around here somewhere...

Happy Halloween!

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