Trick or Treat

Oct 30, 2023

In honor of Halloween I am sharing this story I wrote many years ago.  Something to think about. 


The other day, I was taking the trash out of my son’s room, when I noticed a big pile of empty candy wrappers. It was nearly Thanksgiving, and these wrappers were the final reminders of a busy night three weeks ago, Halloween. As I reflected on the Halloween tradition, I couldn’t help but notice the similarity between this spooky holiday and the stages of our lives. 

First, there is the process of figuring out what you want to be.  For some, this is a very serious and painstaking process.  Great care is taken in selecting and making a costume that will truly reflect the child’s personality.  While for others, the goal is to be able to participate in the festivities without going to a lot of trouble. In either case, once the trick–or-treater has decided what he wants to be, he puts on the costume and goes out into the world to gather treasure. 

Early in the evening, there is abundant energy, enthusiasm, and optimism.  The trick-or-treaters literally run from house to house, gathering their goodies. Some will stop along the way and enjoy the fruits of their labor, while others insist on saving their hard-earned treasure until they are done gathering. As the night wears on, their bags get heavier and heavier, and the trick-or-treaters get tired of running.  There still is enthusiasm for gathering, but not nearly as much energy. At this point, the costume has begun to show the wear and tear of the long journey, and this makes it easier to see the real person underneath.

By the end of the evening, the enthusiasm for gathering has been replaced by a desire to relax, inventory, and enjoy the bounty.  So our trick-or-treaters abandon gathering and return home.  Once they are home, the costume is hung up and the child is returned to his or her true, natural identity. The bag is dumped out and a big sigh of relief is felt, and our young adventurer takes a moment to admire all that was accomplished.  At this point, our retired trick-or-treaters begin the difficult process of managing their stockpile. For some, there will be treats to eat for months, while for others, maybe only a few days. In the end, all that is left is a pile of empty wrappers and the memories of a time gone by. 

Trick-or-treating is serious business, as is life, so here are a few suggestions for success: Take care in deciding what you want to be and choose an identity that truly fits you and your gifts. Be kind and courteous along the way as you gather your treasure. Take time to enjoy all the wonderful people you meet along your journey. Share your treasure with others. And finally, keep in mind that the real treasure is not the candy. The real treasure lies within the relationships you make and the lives you touch along the way.   

Your Family Enrichment Coach,

Jim White





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