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Challenge: Halloween Parade

I Hate Halloween, But I Love Cabbage Night

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It is true.. I am one of those I-hate-Halloween types. Strangers knocking on your door from early evening to late night asking for candy, miles and miles of walking after a long day of work with crowds of children parading around in costumes as parents follow behind with coolers of adult beverages; the struggle to find the best costume and the houses with the full-size candy bars! It just isn’t my thing. Every Halloween, I stay home, while my ex-husband takes the kids trick-or-treating and I resign to being the ultimate Halloween Scrooge as I sit in complete dark and silence so as to avoid all things Halloween-y. Don’t worry, I leave a bowl of candy outside and replenish throughout the night. What can I say? Halloween just isn’t my thing.

October 30th, however? October 30th is one of my all-time favorite days of the year. Cabbage night is a well-known unofficial holiday in most neighborhoods, where only the bravest (or perhaps dumbest) and most-daring head outside when the sun goes down and throw things like eggs and toilet paper in places where eggs and toilet paper do not belong. Growing up, I always dreamed of being brave, destructive and carefree enough to go out there and throw some toilet paper. But I was far too much of a goody-two-shoes and so each year, I thought if only I was the Cabbage Night-type; what fun that would be!

Imagine my delight, 20 something years later, when I stumbled upon a sponsored Cabbage Night at the local, family owned restaurant, Antonio’s! Each year, Antonio’s sponsors a toilet-paper throwing party on October 30, complete with home-made catapults and toilet paper shooting guns. The Antonio’s parking lot is transformed into a toilet paper wonderland as kids and parents alike let loose and cover the trees with streaming paper. The family friendly restaurant asks that participants bring a canned good in exchange for a roll of toilet paper, and all food is then distributed to the local Food Share.

I have always loved this tradition. I love it because it allows me and my children a safe and fun place to be what would otherwise be described as mischievous and destructive. It provides an opportunity for us, and other families, to conquer Cabbage Night-something I heard about year after year and wondered if it was just some silly old wives’ tale. This tradition is an accumulation of all that is good in the world. It is kindness and youth and giving and joy wrapped up in one (or hundreds of) roll (s) of toilet paper.

The staff at Antonio’s works extra hard to make the night a huge success. They have boxes upon boxes of toilet paper. They have built the most amazing catapults, designed simply to shoot toilet paper on Cabbage Night and the staff members man the catapults all evening, helping the kids to achieve the perfect launch with each roll. It is always a night of good, old-fashioned, technology-free, memory-making. And when all is said and done? The trees and the parking lot are COVERED in toilet paper and what a beautiful site it is! For weeks to follow, we drive by and laugh as we see the streaming paper hanging from the bare limbs of the trees.

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And so it has become a tradition for me and my 3 kids each year to show up with our canned goods as we race up to be gifted our toilet paper. We make our away around the parking lot and hop from catapult to catapult and we throw toilet paper until there is no more toilet paper to be thrown. As the trees fill up with toilet paper, I look around and take note of the smiles on the children’s faces, and I understand something about the wild, carefree instinct they are all getting to act out. And then I smile myself because I have just experienced that, too.

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