What are your childhood Halloween memories?
Mine, in no specific order –
- Some long-since forgotten girl’s Halloween birthday party, where we bobbed for apples in the backyard
- Dressing as Wednesday Addams and cutting the head off one of my dolls to complete the costume
- The neighborhood dentist, who gave out sugar-free candy (lame! And, probably, full of aspartame)
- Convincing myself that it was OK to be the Farmer’s Wife when four of us wanted to go as the Three Blind Mice
- Being scared witless by “Jason” on a haunted hay ride
Generally, I guess my memories have less to do with candy than with all the accoutrements – but I wonder how they would have changed, had I been experiencing a gluten-free Halloween.
Would I have been able to bob for apples, or kept away for fear of water contaminated by the saliva of some other, cake-eating child? Probably.
Would my memories of abject hayride terror be replaced by memories of the cider doughnuts I was not allowed to eat? My memories of dentist candy I didn’t want to eat, replaced by those of delicious candy I was forbidden?
Maybe, but I doubt it.
If I imagine myself as a parent to a gluten-free child – ok, any child – I see myself trying to give that child all the same memories I have of growing up. And then I see myself getting frustrated, for all the times I don’t succeed. Those of you who are parents, correct me if I’m wrong.
It’s a little silly, because my memories don’t match those of my parents, and I still had a very happy childhood.
One thing that’s worth remembering as we dip into the holiday season – and really, Halloween is that moment on the year’s roller coaster when you realize you’ve reached the descent and it’s whoooooosh all the way through New Years – is that kids are bouncy, resilient creatures.
They’re going to find a way to have a good time, and they’re going to collect lots of happy memories. So what, they have a different basket of treats at the end of the classroom party? They’re still going to have memories of treats, and costumes, and parties, and fun.
I know that many of you stress around holidays. Maybe it’s your first gluten-free Halloween, maybe your tenth. And I know that because you love your children, you will use this stress to protect them and keep them bad things, like gluten and suspiciously unwrapped candy and dark alleyways.
And for the rest of it: smile! Be happy! And don’t forget to remind yourself that you’re doing a good job.