Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Passing the Carving Knife

We have carved pumpkins as a family since my eldest daughter was a baby. We've carried this tradition with us through the years, the fresh smell of pumpkin heralding the true arrival of fall. As the years march on, the comfort of repeating a treasured tradition is one of the things I most look forward to. However, there comes a point when it's time to make a change to alter a tradition to fit a new moment in life. This year found a gaggle of 13 year-old girls sprawled across my front porch, hard at work scooping guts and carving pumpkins.

This is the last year my daughter Francesca will spend at the school she has attended since she was 5 years-old. This group of girls has grown up together. Next year they will scatter to attend various high schools throughout Seattle. Because this was their last Halloween together, I wanted to make this year especially special. I took extra care to decorate the house with squash, displays featuring Day of the Dead figurines and traditional Mexican sugar skulls, and as many candles as I could find room for. It wasn't a scary house; it was a magical Halloween house, with girls in their costumes flitting in and out all afternoon. 

My extra effort didn't go unnoticed. More trick-or-treaters rang our doorbell than I'd ever seen. Parent after parent complimented our decorations, telling me they and their children had been drawn in by the twinkling lights and the festive atmosphere. Tradition is a great unifier. When there is warmth, love, a sense of community, and an open invitation to join in, you can feel it.

Incorporating Francesca's friends into our family Halloween tradition was a great joy. Keep your traditions close to your heart. But also keep refreshing them. You never know who might come knocking at your door.

Happy (belated) Halloween,



  1. Wow...very beautifully decorated...i like the pumpkins...

  2. Thank you! But I do have to give credit to the girls. They're the creative forces behind the pumpkins!