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Is Your Life a Trick or a Treat?

I love fall – the colors of the leaves, the crispness in the air, the fall flavors of pumpkin and spice, and, of course, Halloween. As a kid, it was like dying and going to heaven. You wound up with more candy than you could believe and types you hadn’t even tried. It was, hands down, the greatest night of the year.

Okay – that was then. What made Halloween so great and how can we get a little Halloween into our lives as adults?

1.)You could be whoever you wanted to be. You put on crazy costumes – whatever you thought was cool or funny – you could be anything you were creative enough to come up with. What would you like to be at Halloween now? The sexy witch? A superhero? Something hilarious? What do you really want to be in your life? I’m serious – do you want to be sexier? More powerful? Do you want to make people laugh? Who would you be if you could be anything? When we were kids, we were dreamers – we dressed up as astronauts and princesses and firemen and warriors. As we got older we let all these dreams go. But you know what? We didn’t have to. And we still don’t. You can still live out a lot of dreams – but you have to have them first. Who do you want to be?

2.)You had no idea what might happen. I still remember getting scared out of my mind when neighbors had really scary decorations or would dress up and jump out at us. What could be better than scaring the crap out of a bunch of little kids? Of course, we’d always come back laughing and delighted. You never knew what your friends would be wearing – sometimes you didn’t even recognize them! You never knew what candy you might get – the whole thing was a great adventure. What great adventure have you had lately? Yeah, I know we’ve had the recession, but I’m talking a GOOD adventure. Something where you really didn’t know what would happen – maybe it was a trip to a new place or a visit to a new restaurant. I challenge you this fall to plan at LEAST one adventure – go to a haunted house, do a cornfield maze, take an afternoon and do a leaf drive with no predetermined route. We don’t allow ourselves enough adventures.

3.)You didn’t compare yourself to others. You dressed up, you went through the neighborhood, you collected candy. It was just fun – you didn’t have to learn anything, you didn’t even have to have a very good costume. You could go to 1 house or 50, there was no rat race. Strangers ooohed and aaahed over you. No one said you were too fat to be a ballerina or too puny to be Superman. We don’t have much of that as adults – everything has a goal – we feel bad if our costumes aren’t good enough and jealous of those with better costumes. We cry foul if someone gets more candy than we do – we demand a redistribution of candy. We decide before we leave the house that we’re too fat to be a ballerina or too puny to be Superman. So we don’t even go out. We make our lives small.

4.)You got candy! And you ate it!!! It’s not like candy is an expensive thing. Our parents could have gone out and bought us bags of candy and that would have been that. But this was an assortment of candy! All kinds! Sometimes you got raisins or pennies or gum – it was so cool!! And you had gotten it YOURSELF! It was magic candy. As adults we deny ourselves candy (and we’re fatter than ever), we punish ourselves for what we enjoy, and we don’t try new things. One of the best things was trying candy you’d never had before. Don’t think of this just in terms of candy – think of it in terms of life. Are you denying yourself things you really enjoy? Can you figure out a way to have moderation? Are you shutting yourself off from new things (people, places, foods, experiences)?

5.)You connected with others. I still like Halloween, though not many kids come to my door. I see more of my neighbors then on any other day of the year. I LOVE seeing all those little cuties in their costumes, timidly holding out their bags. When I was a kid, some of our best family bonding was done around the Halloween candy haul. Today we’re shutting ourselves off from others more and more in our busy, technology driven lives. How can you create some opportunities this fall to interact with people in person, not just online? I don’t know about you, but I laugh hardest when I’m with my friends in person. Make the time, extend the invitation – life is short. Are your best memories from a Facebook interaction or from a face-to-face experience? We need to stop fooling ourselves that they’re the same.

6.)You had fun. The ROI on Halloween is low. I mean, think about the time and money spent on your costume; the time it took to go door-to-door. All that effort for what was probably less than $10 worth of candy. Clearly not a good use of your time, energy and resources. Halloween is an act of stupidity in the adult world. And as a result, we adults don’t have much fun. I don’t think fun just happens – sure it did when you were a kid. Suzy came over and asked if you wanted to go play – and boom – you were out and having fun. Adults need to allow for fun (the hardest part for many of us) and plan it and make it happen. If I don’t put it on my calendar, it won’t happen. What about you?

Starting to realize that your life has become more of a trick than a treat? Get it back in balance by reviewing these ideas and taking action. Plan a couple of fall adventures right now. Invite your best buddies to watch football or plan a girl’s night. Take the family to a corn maze. What if this was the last fall you would ever have? How would you live it? I don’t know about you, but if I have to go, I hope I go with a big bag of magic candy and a sexy costume, surrounded by my friends. Seize the fall!!!

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