October, yes, fall is here! Another season. Life’s rich autumn days are cherished. Fall on the Maine coast is magnificent:  sun loving evergreens, scarlet maples, blue waves over the shore, frosty crisp air, drenching rain, harvest moon, cornstalk mazes, flying clouds, homecoming, football games and warmth of neighbor’s windows.

October is an excellent month for making family traditions. It is a time for wonderful projects for everyone. The simple, old pastimes require only the investment of imagination and time. We celebrate the brightness of each day. It is an especially exhilarating month for children. It is Halloween! Young hearts feel the glow. We all know for youngsters that is a time for glorious childhood fun. Free to play, shout and laugh. It is a sweetness of life and wonder. Eyes of anticipation for all these things that keep their joy within. Tender memories of jack-o-lanterns, bobbing for apples, trick -or- treating, parties, costumes, sweets  and taste of pumpkin pie.

When the Irish migrated to America in huge numbers they brought their Halloween customs with them. One thing they did was trade in their lighted turnips for jack o’ lantern carved out of pumpkins.  A certain message seems to cling. Traditions are not much rooted in things, but in the love that gives them meaning.

When Christianity arrived to Ireland, the church transformed these pagan rites into remembrance of the good folks who had died by fixing two important feast days. For small towns in late-nineteenth-century America, Halloween celebrations became a gala affair, although it would be another century before trick-or treating would become part of our Halloween tradition. The night lost its sinister affect and became a time of pleasure and laughter.

It refreshes my memory. Oh, how I cherish all those happy childhood memories so deeply etched in my heart: the primary school masquerade party, planning costumes, neighborhood bonding and all the rest of it.  It was so much fun planning costumes together. I have never been good with a needle. We must have managed because I only remember happy Halloweens with my children.

It is such a simple entertainment to be out in the fresh air, with the whole family on a sunny afternoon selecting pumpkins.  The search is on. Each child tries to find the most round, most plump orange pumpkin to take home and carve.

As the day arrives the family has a collection of funny jack o’ lanterns and ready for some Fall fun at Saco Main Street 18th Annual Pumpkin Harvest Festival. Historical Saco will be busy with Halloween escapades on Oct. 20 with fun for all from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Fun and games for kids, a “trick or treat” area, costume donut and pie eating contests, face painting, horse drawn wagon rides, the 3rd annual Main Street bed races and more.

The days have chilled. The seasons overlap and blend together. It has come again, the season that is whispering “homecoming.”

Excitement at Thornton Academy from Oct. 19 to Oct. 21 is hosted by the school. All alumni, students, faculty, staff, friends and community are welcome.   One can visit the Admissions Team and tour campus. There are a limited number of tickets to the Homecoming Football game against the Spartans of Sanford High School. Tickets are available for purchase at the stadium entrance for $4, $2 for seniors and children. Please RSVP at admissions @thorntonacademy.org.

Sunday Oct. 21, will be T.A. Day at Pumpkin Valley Farm from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 100 Union Falls Road, Dayton. Wear your T.A. gear and enjoy $2 off your admission to Valley Farm. Spot your fellow classmates dressed in maroon and gold, get lost in the corn maze, feed the farm animals, and journey to the pumpkin patch by hayride. Pumpkin Valley Farm is the neighborhood hot spot for family-friendly seasonal fun.  For more information visit www.pumpkin valleyfarm.com

At Halloween children are entangled in a world of fascination bubbling over with joy.   Young hearts feel the glow at “homecoming!” Happiness is heaped upon them, and it flows over them.

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