Breaking from Tradition

October 28, 2013

You may judge me for what I am about to reveal.

On every past Halloween I can remember, and likely those prior, I have gone trick-or-treating. Before you waste energy wondering, yes, that does include every year of high school. Judge me or applaud me as you wish; regardless of your opinions, I will forever find great joy in dressing in costume and begging for candy come witching hour on October 31. In the weeks before, I will rejoice in assembling my outfit, snacking on candy corn and roasted pumpkin seeds, and carving goopy jack-o-lanterns round the dining room table. Just thinking about Halloween brings a grin to my face and a rumble to my tummy. I feel for anyone who doesn’t find the same contentment.

Unfortunately for me, this is the year tradition breaks. I am up at college, Halloween falls on a Thursday, and I am in a dance show that opens that night. It feels as if the stars aligned in my disfavor. As my best friend and brother discuss coordinating Doctor Who cosplays, I stare moodily at my ink covered calendar. I am powerless under its gaze. It mocks me haughtily, and still I can only stare.

This painful blip in my long line of Halloweens makes me consider the far distant future. One day, when I’m settled in my own home, engaged in my own livelihood, and connected to an expanded network of friends, who knows what other traditions may fall to the wayside? If I’m put out at missing Halloween, not all that high on my list of holidays, I can’t imagine how missing Christmas or Thanksgiving would tear at my soul. The holidays are simply the best times of the year. Imagine if everything that made them so was suddenly denied to you. The annual anticipation of fabulous food, family, and festivities would be corrupted as a constant reminder of a dream never to be realized.

Of course, new traditions can be formed. The old can be maintained on smaller scale. I can only assume these compensations are no real substitute for the real thing. I aim to postpone any affirmation of this theory for as long as humanly possible. I must concur with Tevye on this one. “Without tradition, ours lives would be as shaky as a fiddler on the roof.” While I may be munching fun sized Twix in my dorm room this Halloween, I don’t plan on truly testing my balance anytime soon.

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