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Halloween tradition rarely rings hollow

Tue., Oct. 16, 2007

Isn’t it nice that there are some things that never seem to go out of style? Sure, trends come and go, but the basics stay the same.

Halloween is one of those times.

The grinning Jack O’Lantern faces that decorate front porches all over the country aren’t much different from the decorations – fat pumpkins with snaggle-tooth faces and black cat silhouettes – we had when I was a child. The same things my mother had when she was a child.

The fun of scooping and carving pumpkins and scuffling down leaf-strewn sidewalks crowded with friends from school, and the parents of the littlest ones, is still a big part of the day.

Some things are different, of course. The costumes my daughter is considering are a far cry from the flimsy paper outfits and plastic masks my sister, brother and I wore.

Recently we were at a store near downtown that carries a lot of retro toys. In the corner there was a big box full of molded plastic masks, held on the head by an elastic string. She tried one on and examined it like it was an object from outer space.

“You wore this?” she asked, laughing.

“I did,” I told her, describing my cartoon character costumes and, my very favorite year, the time I went as a gypsy princess.

She looked at the mask, shook her head again and moved on.

She still hasn’t decided what she’ll be this year but there are some things I can predict. Just as I did when I was her age, she’ll carry a big plastic pumpkin to hold her bounty, the candy loot brought home after walking the neighborhood. And, because I want to do my part in keeping traditions alive, I’ll snitch a few candy bars while she’s asleep.

Some things should never change.

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