October 31 tradition


After years of angst about Halloween—how to avoid it, connect with townspeople through it, inoculate it, renounce it, blah blah blah, what was I so worked up about?—we’ve finally found a family tradition that we love.

On the thirty-first of October, we welcome friends who might otherwise be alone that night—mostly the unmarried women we love the most, sometimes a wife whose husband is working. When we invite them ahead of time, we don’t call it a Halloween party or a non-Halloween party. We say “Come over Monday night for hot drinks and puzzles and games.”


We plan fun snacks like soft pretzels or caramel apples or spiced cider or hot chocolate—often something we can make together—and we fill our house with light and warmth and Jesus.

We get out ginormous puzzles and work till we finish them.


Our children talk too much in the glow of all that adult attention, and sometimes my snacks are a bit floppy, like the year the caramel ran off the apples, but we enjoy them together—snacks, children, flops, all of the above—and we soak in the laughter and light.

It’s a tradition I can live with.


Search “Halloween” on this blog if you want to find three previous posts on the subject when my friend Janelle and I were brainstorming back in 2012. I don’t have the heart to add the links right now.

The beautiful mug pictured above was created by White Hill Pottery, the puzzle was created by Anthony Kleem, and everything else was created by Jesus.


Confession: I tried capturing a falling leaf on camera, in this glorious sun-drenched weather.

It was


falling 2A


I thought.

falling 1A

But I found some beautiful branches…

leaf in foreground 2

So many causes for happiness, these fall days. Line-dried sheets, the last of the season. Newly-minted raised beds in the garden–who knew that shoveling goat poop could make me so happy? Healthy and radiant children, four or five or eight or three of them. Words of blessing. Friendship. Maple-bacon frosted cupcakes. Sometimes life slips by too quickly for me to look at, to express, to capture.

Like a falling leaf.

In the fall

A golden flurry of walnut leaves fills my backyard—they are always the first to go.

Mornings are nippy; coffee tastes good.


Tomato sauce boils over on my stove.

running over

I am sick of canning. A few dried beans today and then I am done for the year, and I say Good Riddance, though I’m happy with the resulting shelves of goodness.

I finely diced a whole quart of onions (don’t you love when a recipe says finely diced?)—and cried more than I’d cried over anything for weeks and weeks. I shooed everyone out of the kitchen before it got bad—but Ryan still felt the fumes in his nose and throat and made me pay for it. He said rather loftily that he thought it was more the novelty of homemade salsa than any real superiority. I said, “You shoulda been cutting them if you think you had it bad.” We ate the exquisite flavors in stony silence.

It was the next day at lunch, eating it cold with chips, that we laughed. This was after I lured him back to bed with me and right before I spilled coffee over his pants. Sometimes I think I am a high maintenance wife.

Harvest. The clouds wear a brooding look found only in September skies. The children load their backpacks every morning. We hear rumors of snow in the west.

I feel fully alive in the fall.