Just like on TV with Charlie Brown I had to smile as I saw Linus in the pumpkin patch, waiting for the Great Pumpkin to come. Today, kids would probably be more taken with the footage of Snoopy fighting the invisible Red Baron from atop his dog house. Being an old-fashioned girl, I thoroughly enjoyed Linus and his efforts to convince the other kids that the Great Pumpkin was really coming to visit.
There are still pumpkins to pick in patches all around the Okanagan. Kids scamper through the rows behind Rabbit Hollow as they choose amongst the candidates that inhabit the patch we oversee. Parents take pastoral pictures and everyone trots home to make pie or this week, perhaps to carve up a jolly Jack O’Lantern. I hope some of those kids, big or small, might believe that the Great Pumpkin visits the patch on Hallowe’en. Like any good magical story, the legend of this hallowed squash requires that we believe. I had forgotten that Linus even says the way the Great Pumpkin chooses the patch to visit is to look for the most sincere place. Sincerity is something that can be in short supply these days… maybe that is why we don’t talk about the Great Pumpkin anymore.
I know kids today watch stories that are much more high tech and hip, but I was struck by this old classic. I have a little brother, just like Lucy had Linus, and I seem to recall telling him on occasion that he was being silly when he tried to do something off the beaten path. I think we mostly got along pretty well, and I hope none of my “big sister” comments dissuaded him from believing in any of his dreams. Like Lucy, deep down I did want to make sure he was OK – I might have teased him about the bells he had on his boots (really, he did), but I wouldn’t have let him freeze in the pumpkin patch all night if he wanted to wait for the Great Pumpkin.
We did go trick-or-treating together too. It was never cool to hang out with your younger sibling, I think, but on Hallowe’en you had no choice. (That was back in the days when you went through the whole neighbourhood, returning home to dump out your full candy bucket so you could go to the rest of the homes. It took us a while to eat all that candy!) The rule was that you had to go the speed of the younger or shorter kids, so we all stuck together. Some parents made us sing songs to get our candy, and sometimes you would even get homemade goodies, complete with a note that had the address of the baker so your Mom wouldn’t worry. You were never allowed to eat anything until you got home, anyway.
We don’t see any little goblins at Rabbit Hollow, or hear them shouting “Hallowe’en Apples!”, as there is no sidewalk and no street lights and the houses are far apart. I hope that there are kids in your neighbourhood though – make sure you have a few goodies for them, and be prepared to act sincerely scared or delighted or dazzled with their costumes. You are responsible for ensuring that another generation of kids knows it’s worthwhile to believe in magical things.
And besides, we can’t really be expected to eat healthy food every single day of the year, can we? I think a few Hallowe’en Kisses every year is good for our souls.
Happy Hallowe’en, Newt!