I was reading something recently about kids nowadays seem to all have anxiety which is sad. There’s plenty of time to have anxiety as an adult. Childhood should be a little more fun when it can be. We worry so much about what “could” happen in the rain on Halloween, that we forget nothing has actually ever happened by experiencing rainy weather while trick or treating. Having grown up with an anxious parent myself, that anxiety absolutely transfers itself to kids and you go from just being excited about having a good time and making the best of less than ideal situations to suddenly thinking up all the catastrophes that could happen but likely won’t. It’s such misdirected energy. I know, I have anxiety as an adult and I did experience the kind of trauma people can only imagine but it never happens. I went to the Marathon on a perfect, sunny spring day and I came home smelling like burnt hair and bomb residue. So I know of what I speak.

My mom’s anxiety taught us to worry about paralysis when jumping in a pool, getting molested or kidnapped if we ever went to a playground without an adult, that everyone who rides a motorcycle will die (kind of agree with her on this one,) that people would always be peeping in our windows….and the list goes on. I even worried about Russian tanks rolling up on my front lawn during the Cold War and that every thunderstorm would result in a tornado so I should wait out storms in the basement.

But on Halloween, I just woke up that day super excited feeling the spirit and spooky ….wanting to look out the window and see what happened the night before on cabbage night. The neighborhood felt electric as so many neighbors had cool decorations and displays…even made their own haunted houses. School was the longest day ever just waiting to get home and waiting for my parents to get home from work a little early and help us get dressed. We had our pillow cases ready and we were annoyed by any delay to hitting the sidewalks, including the obligatory photo with siblings and photo with friends. We’d get together with our friends and their dads would take us out in a group while our moms stayed behind to hand out candy. I never once thought about the weather. I never once thought there could ever be a possibility the day would be canceled or moved. It was pretty much the most exciting day of my year and one of very few where I only worried about my costume staying together and how many peanut butter cups I might score. Pure, childhood bliss.

For some reason I am so bothered by Halloween getting moved because of rain. Massachusetts has never given in to parental anxiety and this year, many of our towns are. I’m just super annoyed by that. It feels like the spirit of the day has been erased and is disposable….something which is just a task which must be gotten through for adults. Any discomfort of bad weather replaced by the “what ifs” we used to not think about.

There were plenty of legit things for parents to worry about but Halloween wasn’t one of them. The burden of an anxious parent didn’t roll down on Halloween. We got that one day to just explode with joy and excitement all the way up until the point of exhaustion when we would finally cave and tell dad we had enough candy and were ready to call it a night. Yep, the dads never put a limit on it. They trusted us to call it a day. They gave us that decision despite how bored they were, how cold they were, how wet they were. They even gave us the impression they too were having a good time. We had that one day to just be a kid.