3 Joyful Lessons from Halloween

This spooky season is so much more than tricks and treats.

I love Halloween, probably more so as an adult than when I was a kid. As a kid, Halloween was all about trick-or-treating. I’d go door-to-door, my anxiety a little high because I had to talk to a stranger, all in hopes that they’d give me the good stuff – Snickers, Kit Kat bars, or Reese’s peanut butter cups. Then I hit that age when to be cool you had to act like nothing else is cool, and that included Halloween.

When I got older my love for Halloween returned, but with a newfound appreciation. Despite the creepy decorations and the horror movie marathons, Halloween is a season of joy. From the unbridled creativity to the thrills and chills, Halloween gives us all a chance to reconnect to a feeling of being truly alive. Here are a few ways to carry the Halloween spirit with you all year round.

  • Don’t write something that is scary off as being bad. People like me who enjoy scary movies know that it’s the anticipation that builds and the excitement of jump scenes that make the movies so fun. Yet, how many times do we see opportunities in our life and think “that’s scary” and turn away? When I get that scary feeling, I’ve learned to pause and consider – Is this really unsafe? Or is it just new and unknown? What’s possible if I take this chance? If I slow down and give myself space from my emotions, I can move past my brain’s instinctive jump to fear. And, I usually find a thrilling opportunity and exciting possibilities are right in front of me.
  • Giving is just as fun, or even more fun, than getting. I love giving out Halloween candy. It’s fun to observe the different personalities of the kids that come to my door. There are the kids who take on the full persona of their costume, twirling in their tutus or flexing their green, foam Hulk muscles. The kids whose eyes light up as they watch their candy buckets fill. Then, there are the kids who aren’t quite into the festivities and cower behind their parent’s legs. We encounter so many different kinds of people every day. I’ve learned that when I approach people with a generous spirit, 9 times out of 10 they react with a pleasant surprise that lights me up in turn. And I don’t even have to carry candy around with me! A smile, a greeting, holding the door…all those little gestures are brief moments to connect and spread joy.
  • Be creative and to show up differently. I love the opportunity to be creative on Halloween. Coming up with a costume that will get a reaction out of people, and stepping out of my usual apparel and persona, is just fun! On Halloween we all get a chance to choose a costume. I’ve realized, though, that I don’t have to wait until Halloween to choose who I want to be. The more I make a conscious choice of who I want to be and how I then want to show up, I feel more alive and whole.

Halloween is a great reminder of the thrill of being alive and choosing your own adventure. So, whether you like to celebrate in full costume or just handing out candy to the trick-or-treaters, I encourage you to embrace the spirit of the season. There are plenty more treats in life than tricks.

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