One of the very first things we all started to do as a family was the Lantern Walk. Every year, in Jamaica Plain, the whole community gathers the Sunday night before Halloween and takes a walk around the Jamaica Pond. With Lanterns. Some are store bought but mostly, they are hand made creations lit with candles. Jamaica Plain is a funky, fun part of Boston, where the rents are still somewhat reasonable and is still seen as a haven for artists. While you walk around, there is a group playing drums. Another is doing Irish folk dances. And yet still another group is singing songs you remember from campfires when you were a kid.
The kids- and some grown ups- dress in their Halloween costumes. My kids see it as the ‘test run’ for any costume idea they have, to be sure it will be comfortable, that you can see out of whatever eye holes are available and nothing is scratchy.
For me, it’s a reminder every year of how our family came together, slowly, but surely over many years. Long before we spent every holiday together, we had the Lantern Walk. With strollers, at first, and a few years with one adult going back to the house with Jake who couldn’t quite make it around the mile plus walk around the pond. Now we all walk and the adults complain about the distance- last year it was Allan’s first year with a new hip. This year… well, we’re just old and whiny. Wait till the kids have to push us in our wheelchairs.
This year, Ben had a choice to go to a friend’s Halloween party.
No. I can’t miss the Lantern Walk, he said.
I agree. It is a celebration of the first tiny seeds of family that we started.