If you know me, you know that I LOVE the fall. The crispness in the air, puffy vests, pumpkin picking, warm fires in the fireplace, and the feeling of time slowing down in preparation for winter. Once winter hits, our family hibernates and, apart from a possible ski trip to Vermont, we stay local in Fairfield County. With all of our extended family living in the Midwest, seeing them for Thanksgiving or Christmas would be a very costly venture for our family of five at peak airfare season. So we outsmart the airlines and kick off our holiday season by traveling for Halloween!
Ever since our son’s first Halloween in 2010, we have been making a pilgrimage back to lovely little Brighton, MI, where quality is a way of life (no joke, it’s on the sign when you drive into the town). I grew up there and love taking my kids back. We go back to the cider mill that I grew up visiting for field trips. We have grilled cheese at the Yum Yum Tree on Main Street, we play at my old playground and we feed the ducks. And then there’s the epic Halloween night trick-or-treating…my parents will get 450 trick-or-treaters. It’s Midwest suburbia at it’s best.
Halloween is a shockingly big deal in my old neighborhood, I never realized how much fun it was for the parents when I was kid running from house to house! So many of the neighbors, both new and old, go all out decorating for the night. One house does a ridiculous graveyard scene with moving skeletons. One friend’s house made Hogwarts happen in their garage two years ago. Seriously, Hogwarts. It is so much fun to share my childhood memories with my children and watch the magic of trick-or-treating come alive in their eyes. Of course, we always hit the anti-climactic point when we are ten houses away and they just want to go home to help hand out candy. But who cares, we love every hyped up moment!
It’s really interesting how family traditions can just develop on their own. So many traditions are intentional or passed down through generations. This tradition of ours just naturally happened over the years. When we lived in Chicago, it made sense to drive to Michigan for trick-or-treating. But when we moved to Connecticut, we still couldn’t imagine Halloween anywhere other than Michigan and did not hesitate to buy our tickets. I love how important this has become to our children, especially our 5 year old, he is very vocal about his belief that Halloween MUST be celebrated in Brighton. He has never had it any other way. It’s such a treasure for me to be able to share these pieces of my childhood with my children.
So wish us luck on our trick-or-treating travels to Michigan for the sixth year in a row…with three kids under the age of six on an airplane, I accept all best wishes and prayers for patience. Thankfully we have hometown Halloween fun with Grammy and Grampa waiting on the other end of the flight!
What holiday traditions are held near and dear in your family?