One thing I have learned, if not throughout my entire life then specifically this past year, is that keeping traditions alive is a personal decision, not something that someone will make happen for you. I went out this weekend longing for my usual Halloween getup of cat ears, tail and crazy cat eye contact lenses to match, and I realized just how much I enjoy the traditions and holidays from my homeland.
Halloween is a perfect example of something that is absolutely, thrillingly, determinedly fun. Whether I was in New Orleans in college parading around Frenchman Street dressed as Barbie…or a Lady Bug… or in New York wandering the streets as Drew Brees or the devil, Halloween has always been exciting. I remember as a kid going out with my friends trick-or-treating and running for our lives whenever a sketchy looking car slowed down the side of the road, (the egg-mobile was a popular theme in my town,) or as we got older going to parties dressed up as whatever we fancied that particular year, (again – I think my life has usually been full of cats and devils…)
Not to mention all of the thought that goes into these costumes each year. A couple of years ago the President of the company where I worked in NYC gave a gift to the entire office, bright red Nalgene bottles that read DIGITAS inside of a heart with a recycle symbol replacing the A – to show that we could now be environmentally friendly and re-use our Nalgene’s instead of having to use the throw away cups that were provided. 1 week later, a notice was released to the entire office regarding the poisonous content in the plastic used to make the Nalgene and a “please use at your own risk” warning was issued. That year, our office floor decided to do a themed Halloween costume for the annual Digitas Party, where we all dressed up as the poisonous Nalgene’s and wrapped ourselves in red cellophane with caution tape. The president was not happy, but we certainly were!
I missed that feeling this year. Nobody in Paraguay really dresses up for Halloween, although I did go to a bar downtown Saturday night and saw about a handful of costumes which was shocking to me! I felt lost without at least a tiara or something glittering to make it feel like dress up. The feeling stuck with me and I realized that it was up to me to keep alive the traditions that I love and that mean a lot to me, Halloween included. Just because I am not living in the U.S. – and who knows where I will be living next – doesn’t mean that I have to lose those holidays, not even the less significant ones. But missing the 4th of July, Labor Day, and now Halloween this year just made me realize that Thanksgiving is going to have to be something special.