A Brisben Family Halloween
I am a strong believer in traditions. Each holiday, my family and I have different rituals we look forward to. I love that. These traditions grow stronger as my children have children and my family expands. Some of my happiest moments are introducing old family traditions to new family members.
I started a tradition with my children when they started going trick-or-treating, and we still honor it with my grandchildren. The whole family agrees that it brings some extra magic to Halloween for all of us.
When my kids were young, I would take the time to decorate our home like our own personal haunted house. I would hang orange and black streamers, adorn the walls with fun ghosts and witches and scarecrows, and I always made sure we carved a normal pumpkin into a spooky jack-o-lantern.
Before I took the kids trick-or-treating through the neighborhood, I would serve them each a bowl of my famous chili. Sorry, the recipe is a secret. This dish would warm them up—Halloween in Ohio is quite chilly—and give them the energy they needed to ring as many doorbells as they could.
At the end of the night, when there wasn’t room for any more candy in the kids’ bags, we would come home so they could check their stashes for razors, poisons, and other dangers parents worry about. Most years, this was a peaceful routine, but every once in a while I would have to mediate a trade negotiation, stop a candy thief from rifling through Lauren’s bag, or referee an argument. When you have three sons, that’s just part of the territory.
While the kids made sure their candy was safe, I poured hot apple cider into little glasses for them. I would serve these steamy little drinks with slices of pumpkin pie. This was a special treat for the kids because Halloween was the first time I would bake pumpkin pie all year.
Now, when I see my grandchildren dressed in costumes and excited to collect candy, I am reminded of when my kids did the same. I am instantly taken back to the time my son Matt and a boy from the neighborhood dressed up as Smurfs. They looked absolutely adorable with their blue-painted faces and tiny white pants. Matt doesn’t remember this, but they even won a contest.
It warms my heart that I can carry on my Halloween traditions with my grandkids. These moments, these shared memories are what make my family strong. I urge you to invent your own traditions so each holiday brings as much joy to your family as they do to mine.