We always knew the day would come.
Halloween has always been a treasured family holiday for us, and we’ve really blown it out in the past with coordinated family costumes. But as we know, all good things must come to an end.
It all started out a little wishy-washy. Over the Summer, the kids were doing their usual arguing over what our family costume should be for Halloween this year. There is always a great deal of debate over the subject, but we’ve somehow managed to happily settle on a consensus for the past 9 years. We hoped this year would be no different. The usual bickering and jockeying ensued, with each kid weighing in on their vote for our family-themed costumes. Here we go again, I thought.
However, as the holiday drew near, it became clear that consensus was going to be DIFFICULT this year. Hayden and Quinn wanted to be dinosaurs, Hayden completely obsessed with the “Jurassic World” movies, and Quinn just happy to go along, as fourth-children do, with something that one of his older siblings suggested. Brady, on the other hand, wanted to be a raccoon (I know, so strange). And Grace was trying her hardest to come up with a plan that could bring us all together. I love that about her. There were lots and lots of heated discussions in the Gagnon house over the merits of these costumes, as well as other themes that we might be able to pull off, coordinating the six of us.
Then came the tipping point. Grace and some of her school friends were chatting one day at recess, and decided that they should be “babies” for Halloween, donning some pajama onesies, pacifiers, and baby bottles. I could tell Grace was having a STRONG internal debate with herself as she relayed their discussion to me after school that day.
“Grace,” I told her, “I totally get it if you want dress up with your friends this Halloween. In fact, I was even a baby once with my friends when I was around your age. It really is okay.” It only took her a second to respond, clearly showing that his was her desire.
“Thanks, Mom!” she giddily replied, and skipped out of the room.
It really was okay. I remembered being her age, and all the fun I had with my friends coming up with and coordinating group costumes for Halloween. I remember. But I knew it was going to crush Justin. He always loved taking our group costumes to the next level.
Justin arrived home from work that day, looking chipper. We discussed a few items of note, and I hesitated telling him about the costume dilemma in the moment, but figured it best to rip off the bandaid. I relayed my conversation with Grace, watching his face fall as I did so. Like, seriously fall. He looked at me with the saddest eyes, “I knew last year would be the last, Al. I knew it.”
And, just like that, our family Halloween costume tradition had perished. I said it before, and I will say it again…you never know when it’s going to be the last time. Whatever traditions you have, whatever rhythms seem to be syncopating in your family life – cherish them while they last. Revel in them, as the memories will stay with you forever. Before you know it, you too might be graduating Hogwarts and moving on to celebrate Halloween with two dinosaurs, a raccoon, and a baby.