I have often said that I’ve never met a holiday I didn’t like. I do love the excitement, the anticipation, decorating, looking up special recipes, learning about the origin and meaning of the holiday, the preparation and finally the actual celebration. It does not always live up to my expectations, but I don’t let that disappoint, God willing there is always next year.
Halloween offers so much fun. There is the dressing up, the spooky decorations and of course the candy – is there anything so good in life that chocolate cannot make even better, or so bad that chocolate cannot make us forget if only for a moment? However, I did not get to enjoy this holiday until I was 13.
In Cuba we did not celebrate Halloween. I learned about Halloween when my best friend Mary Fely was taking English lessons at a place called Children’s Garden. Her birthday happens to be on Halloween. That year for her birthday she was having a Halloween party. She told me all about the holiday. She was having a cake in the shape of a pumpkin and there would be bobbing for apples and all sorts of games. I was so looking forward to that party.
However, the day before the party I woke up with a fever and a rash all over my body. It was a school day and Mary Fely’s mother stopped by and made a comment about me trying to get out of school. She was a teacher and was always suspicious of my motives (I must say she had her reasons for being suspicious, I had quite a few tricks up my sleeve). Well, as it happened, the trick was on me. I remember being given some medication, sleeping for practically 24 hours and missing the party. Then both the fever and the rash disappeared just as mysteriously as they had appeared. No treats for me!!!
On my first Halloween in the United States, my class in school had a Halloween party. Since my understanding of English was almost non-existent I had no idea of what was happening. It was a tiny two-classroom country school. I was in the eighth grade and in the 4th through 8th grade classroom. In the middle of the day everyone changed into their costumes. Carol Sue Melville, the daughter of the family that sponsored us, was in my class and she had brought a costume for me. She dressed as a nurse and I was her patient. She had a nightgown for me, she bandaged me up and I tried to look sick and in pain. We won first prize!!
Eventually I got to enjoy Halloween with my own daughters and the fun and the pumpkin carving has never stopped.