Not even the kiddies will get a chance to show-off their costumes, while business leaders line the streets of the downtown plaza to cheer, smile and wave to the masses of excited children. The Halloween parade is now a distant memory as of 2011, and quite a sad loss. As a youth, I remember holding onto my partner’s hand as we walked in a full circle around the plaza, my Mom taking the day off to wave and smile while my Dad visited on his lunch break.
Halloween was so much more than a commercial holiday in Patterson. It sparked interest in my household and brought my family together for at least one afternoon, despite our otherwise demanding schedules. It was a day where silliness was accepted, and parents and businesses took a break from the bustle to stop and watch good-natured children pretend—just for the day—to be something other than themselves.
Our mentality now is to strive, strive, strive forward without thinking much about the present. And it is due to this mentality that, I feel, we have lost a bit of our magic as a community. I applaud each school administration for their diligence in sticking to the school curriculum, but respectfully offer my counter argument—emotional as they may be.
Some of my fondest memories in Patterson include hiding Snickers in my converse from my snooping father, who would scare the beegezus out of me whenever he could, or seeing what my fellow classmates and teachers would dress up as.
I never realized how much it would pain me to lose the parade’s tradition. It may seem to be a small staple for those who are not familiar with this type of small town tradition, but as a product of this town, I feel a little cheated that we, as adults, are no longer playing ball after 30 years of participation.
Those memories, as well as the participants, shaped me, and as an adult, it was something I was very keen on watching myself. Events like this are a perfect excuse to slow down the momentum, take a breather and look towards our youth and recognize their creative outlets.
They’ll have the rest of their lives to study and work, but they’ll only be kids for a short while. Luckily, Walnut Grove and Las Palmas Elementary have confirmed that they will be hosting a small parade on each of their campus’. I will be in attendance, willing to cheer them on as others had done for me.
Hallowe’en, the eve before All Saints Day for Christians, has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival, known as Samhain, to celebrate the end of harvest. It seems strange that a community built on agricultural production would ignore such a phenomenon in history.
But, even so, we are not completely at a loss. Thank goodness for Fantozzi Farms and the local Farmer’s Market.