If Pentecost is a season on unrestrained joy, then there is but one clear moment that gave me the light of hope and the promise of resurrection. It was the Fall of 2009. I was growing new skin. New life was beautiful and in bloom. I honestly cannot recall the details around the origins of the idea, but somewhere in the midst of deconstructing a good party, I needed to reinvent a long love of my heart – the costume.
Lucas and I went on a blind date to a costume party. I have been known to coordinate all the adults in the family to dress with the ONE child as the centerpiece of an ensemble. I LOVE a costume. I also love the idea of redeeming the foolish scare fest of Halloween with the laughter friendly excuse for absurdity. With our trusty partners in crime, Lee Ann and Jake, the Hilbrich crew set out to begin a new tradition of costume fun. Everyone bought into the idea. Friends and kids and more friends began to dream of costumes and creativity. At the time, our kids were 7 and 4. We could never get away with such things in their teen years, but that night, we threw caution to the wind and gave our guests a giggle. Plug and socket was one of my favorite couple’s costumes of all time. We laughed and most importantly enjoyed watching our friend’s reactions when we were seen together.
That night, we cleared the living room furniture, learned the “Thriller” choreography and had the most fun. We did all of this without a drop of alcohol. I can remember the discussion about our menu for the event. It was important to my co-hosts that we create an environment where everyone could be comfortable and themselves, and that included me. With the tradition of our Halloween party, my family reimagined celebration. Truly, this experience became a night of joy. It was the vision and hope of a new life that was not devoid of laughter and fun. Rather it was a place where no spirits were needed to enjoy all the silliness that life has to offer.
I had no idea in 2009 that this tradition would become a staple of our family. The activities have changed. The crowd has aged. One year, we all wore homemade costumes and donated all of our costume money to charity. Some years, the party has moved outside and included the neighborhood. We have even had a swim Halloween after party. And as all good parties should, we have even had the cops show up. I thoroughly enjoyed answering the door that night and explaining to the officer that not only were we not teenagers, but we had no alcohol. We are so wild. Beginning the first year, the kids judged the costume contest. Conveniently, their favorite young adult wins every year. Some things never change.
This past Halloween we decided that perhaps the tradition had run its course. With many other activities filling our schedules, we did not plan a full weekend affair. As the time grew closer, my kids kept asking, “What are we going to be for Halloween?” I realized that this was more than a grown-up party. This tradition is a legacy of friendship. It is the hope and the promise that very different lives and many lasting stories, have intersected in the cul-de-sac of Sunset Ridge in full costume glory. With little pre-party prep, we held a Trunk-or-Treat this year and invited all who wanted to partake for some Halloween night (and Astros watching) fun. And thanks to a glue gun wielding 12-year-old, the spirit of Halloween is still as thrilling in our family as the coming of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost.