I settled in for a bit of couch-potato time tonight and what should be on the television screen but Linus and Lucy and yes, Charlie Brown. I had to smile as I saw Linus in the pumpkin patch, waiting for the Great Pumpkin to come on Hallowe’en.
There are still a few pumpkins to pick at farm stands all around the Okanagan. In years past, kids have scampered through the rows behind Rabbit Hollow as they chose amongst the candidates that inhabited the patch we oversaw. Parents would take pastoral pictures and everyone trotted home to make pie or this week, perhaps to carve up a 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 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.
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 (he would wander off, so the sound helped track him down).
I wouldn’t have let him freeze in the pumpkin patch all night if he wanted to wait for the Great Pumpkin.
My brother and I always went trick-or-treating together as kids. It was never cool to hang out with your younger sibling, but on Hallowe’en you had no choice. In those days we went through the whole neighbourhood, returning home to dump out our full candy buckets so you could be sure not to miss any of the homes. It took us a while to eat all that candy.
Those were the days. Some parents made us sing songs to get our candy (known as the “trick” in trick-or-treat), and sometimes you would even get homemade popcorn balls, 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.
Nowadays, we don’t see any little goblins at Rabbit Hollow, or hear them shouting, “Hallowe’en Apples!” There is no sidewalk and only one street light, and the houses are far apart in our neck of the woods.
I do hope that there are kids in your neighbourhood – please make sure you have a few goodies for them. 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 to my little bro, Newt, and to the rest of the aspiring witches and goblins and princesses and monsters everywhere.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.