The candy and party enthusiasts are already gearing up for Halloween. Then from there on we’ll slip quickly into Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and then February. This is an oversimplification, of course, but it’s how I often feel when faced with the rapid and overwhelming onslaught that is affectionately known as the holiday season. For all intents and purposes, with October upon us, the season begins now.
About a year ago, a friend began circulating a photo of me dressed up as Mickey Mouse for Halloween when I was probably 5 years old or so. I won’t lie – I look cute. I should say it’s probably the least embarrassing, or least incriminating, Halloween photo of me that I know of.
That photo got me thinking. Those were the days when Halloween truly was a landmark day. For me, as a kid whose father rarely allowed candy, it was a day of intense gluttony and savage toothaches. Hunkered over my little plastic jack-o-lantern container of goodies with mouse ears perked up on the top of my head, I have this disturbing image of a four-foot mouse panting heavily and laboring through a ritualistic feeding frenzy. But I digress.
These days Halloween is still fun, one of the best holidays of the year. It also, however, serves as a reality check and a prominent dot on the year’s timeline. I say reality check because, like I already wrote, I can see the rest of the year rapidly unfolding and February arriving. Just like that. The holiday season sneaks up on us in the fall, picking up steam in the winter and then tearing through New Year’s until it finally departs, leaving a gaping hole in our wallets and a sense of, “What just happened?” By the time I catch my breath people are already talking about spring.
Our newsroom recently had a meeting that nonchalantly mapped out the next three months as if we were making lunch plans. When you’re planning for Thanksgiving and the Christmas season, with all of the desire for vacation days juxtaposed against the reality that our staff is too small for many days off, it is startlingly easy to find yourself staring at February and beyond.
I’m not complaining, though. I’m just confronting the reality, for me, of the swift-moving fall and winter seasons. In fact, if the holidays are imminent, then let the Halloween costume search begin. I don’t know what I’ll be yet, but I’m fairly sure I can’t pull off Mickey Mouse anymore even though my mother, the creator of the original mouse costume, has generously offered to sew an adult version if the need arises.
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