Is Autumn Cancelled?

I keep seeing a trend online that I would like to address and give my two cents about. While this post was directed first and foremost to fellow parents, I think this topic extends to just about everyone who is concerned about the up and coming fall season. I also recognize that the topic at first may seem silly, but it does have an overarching conclusion.

It is no secret that autumn is my favorite season. I am an avid horror movie fan who loves Halloween, pumpkins, hayrides, bonfires, sweaters, changing leaves, hot apple cider, trick or treating, and big pots of harvest soups. I have always loved fall. My mother and grandmother were always big fans of the season and we would always watch movies together and celebrate however we could. I could not wait to have a family of my own with whom to celebrate the season.

I quickly learned that many others look forward to autumn, too. There are even online communities of fellow fall-lovers who exchange information about decorating, recipes, Halloween costumes, etc. Some of the communities are dedicated to amateur cooks, parents, party-throwing, and even home decor. I understand why many people enjoy the autumn season. There are a lot of activities involved for family, friends, and children. Fashion is at its peak. Cooks can finally start preparing dishes without worrying about the oven overheating their home. Plus, fall is sort of the gateway for all the other holidays that bring everyone together. It’s the grand holiday precursor.

With all of that being said, I see so many people online saying that fall is “cancelled.” 2020 was a challenging year for almost every singe person on the planet. That may seem like hyperbole, but I am being completely serious. The global pandemic alone rocked the entire planet. 2020 has seen it all and it may seem appropriate at this point to just cancel the rest of the year, but I think we have to ask ourselves: will this change anything? Will this make us happy? We still deserve moments of joy, even if they are fleeting.

Particularly, I think about our children. I have had many Halloweens at this point. I’m done trick or treating and bobbing for apples. I’ve gone on haunted hayrides with friends, and have attended my fair share of Halloween parties. But children who are six, seven, or even ten years old only have a few years left of ignorant childhood bliss. They don’t understand the severity of the global situation. Call me crazy, but I don’t think they have to know just yet. I also understand that this is not the way things have always been and it’s historically rather modern for children to be shielded from cruelty of the world.

Sure, trick or treating may be cancelled (as it probably should be for safety reasons). And schools may be closed (once again, probably wise). But this should not prevent us from celebrating moments of happiness in the comfort and privacy of our own homes. You can still wrap your kid up like a mummy or a vampire on Halloween. Instead of trick or treating, have a movie marathon and dance around to the Monster Mash. Make Halloween-themed treats for everyone. Go on a drive through the mountains while the leaves are changing.

My point is: we have to adapt without compromising our traditions entirely. The world is different and there is no doubt about that. However, children remain the same and still deserve fun and lighthearted moments of joy before the realities of the world set in.

About two weeks ago I had the news on in the living room. As the reporter was showing charts of the recent pandemic numbers, my toddler was rolling around on the floor chasing the family dog and giggling. Despite anything that was being reported on television, he didn’t notice. He never even looked up at the screen. How can we expect children to understand the severity of the world’s events? It’s always a good idea to keep them informed, but at their level. Try explaining the pandemic to a four year old and you’ll probably be met with a confused child who is only half-listening anyway. However, you can teach your kids to wash their hands.

We have to recognize our kid’s ages and with that, adapt. So, with that rant, I have decided that in our house fall is not cancelled. Yes, it will be different than the years previously. We will not be keeping up with the old traditions. However, we will be making new ones and hopefully everyone will be having a good time (with only the occasional toddler temper tantrum).

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