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The Spirit of the Season

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Kids love Halloween, for sure, but so does another member of our family…our dog Fritz. On Halloween eve, he waits for each ring of the doorbell so he can trot to the door and stick his head out to greet each child. He gets his own kind of “treats” in the form of little pets and ear-scratches from the trick-or-treaters. Surprisingly, he doesn’t notice their costumes or scary makeup, only the sweet voices behind each mask and happy hearts under each hat, saying “Good boy” and “Can I pet your dog?”

Not to add too much meaning to a lighthearted childhood tradition, but I see Fritz’s annual Halloween meet-and-greet as a metaphor for how we could all improve our acceptance of one another. At Halloween, we can all easily practice meeting a unicorn or a witch or even a pallid red-eyed zombie, and get to know them without a care for what is on the outside.

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In Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge, having learned the err of his ways from three ghosts, proclaims that he will honor Christmas in his heart and try to keep it all the year. In the same way, we could take a lesson of Halloween—seeing past what others are wearing or how they look—and focus on what is on the inside instead, even after the ghost and princess costumes have been put away.

We packed this issue with fun ways to celebrate the thrills and beauty of fall, from farm festivals and pumpkin patches, to an abundance of Halloween events. Enjoy the season, and when the opportunity arises to meet someone new, remember Fritz, then strive to see beyond the clothes and makeup, straight to the person’s heart. Your kids will likely follow your lead.

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