Early one Halloween morning way back in the dark ages (okay, the late 70s), my mother’s water broke.
Because she was on the downhill side of her 30s, she was considered “elderly” and “high risk”(rude). The obstetricians in our tiny little town in northern New Hampshire wouldn’t touch her case with a ten-foot pole. My dad had to drive her two and a half hours to the hospital in Saint Johnsbury, VT — the closest place that would see high-risk patients. I was born around 8:30 am on October 31. And thus began my life of celebrating a Halloween birthday.
Now, this was back before the days of routine ultrasounds and knowing if you were having a boy or girl. I was supposed to be named Patrick. Or Steve. Or some combination of the two. Instead, my mom and dad had to scramble to find a good French girl’s name.
Thank God my mom won that battle, or else I would have had to soldier my way through life as Halloween Beaudoin. It still makes me shudder.
My sister was a little over a year old at the time. She stayed home with one of my aunts. She swears up and down that she can remember hiding under the kitchen table that night when my aunt handed out candy to the kids that came. Apparently, those costumed kiddos became the basis for a lifelong fear. She still pretends she’s not home on Halloween night because she was so traumatized.
It took me a long time to realize that I was the only kid in my town who got to go trick-or-treating for her birthday. I grew up in the days when we got to wear our Halloween costumes to school. My mom always volunteered to supply the cake for the party because she was making one anyway. Once I hit puberty and the excitement of becoming someone else and knocking on strangers’ doors for “fun-size” candy bars wore off, my Halloween birthday became just another day like any other.
Besides, who are they kidding? There’s nothing fun about a candy bar that size.
Now that I’m a mom, I love Halloween as a holiday. It’s exciting to know that my girls are going to dress up as princesses, witches, Care Bears, or whatever else tickles their fancy (this year, it’s Ghostbusters). We live in a great neighborhood that’s perfect for trick-or-treating, with quiet streets and lots of families. The girls always ask for the birthday girl to walk them around from door to door. What they haven’t realized yet is after they go to bed, I raid their bags of candy and take out my favorites — which is my birthday treat to myself!
As I get older, the excitement of Halloween is slowly turning into appreciation for the way that our family and friends enjoy spending this time of year together: carving pumpkins, making our own costumes, walking through our neighborhood and seeing all the kids on our street trick-or-treating. My new favorite tradition is the birthday cake that my husband and daughters give me when we get home, with a glass of wine to wash it down.
I know it won’t be long before the girls will ask to go trick-or-treating by themselves. Someday they’ll stop going altogether. For me, Halloween is a day to look back on how much my life has grown and changed. I cherish the wonderful memories I’ve made and keep making with my loved ones.
Happy Halloween to our Burlington Vermont Moms Blog readers and their families, and Happy Birthday to me.