Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Pumpkin Day

So, did everyone have a nice Pumpkin Day?

What's that? You don't know what Pumpkin Day is? Perhaps you know it by a different name.

Our family doesn't "do" Halloween. Our reasons are numerous, which I won't go into now. We, however, do celebrate God's creation in what we call Pumpkin Day. Any why we ever came up with the name Pumpkin Day is beyond me. It is a rather lame name, I'll admit. But it's what stuck...and we aren't about to break tradition now.

Let me share with you all a little tip: If there was ever a time you wanted to have a nice night out at a restarant, Oct. 31 is the night to do it. Every year, we start off our festivities with a nice family dinner out. And we're not talking about Mickey D's or Burger King. We're talking the big leagues here. Like Cracker Barrel, or Don Pablo's. Or, as the case was this year, Bob Evan's. And every year, we are just amazed at how empty these places can be. Last night, we practically had the entire non-smoking section of the place to ourselves. I counted about five tables with folks eating.

Anyhow, after our meal, we headed home, playing the "name something God made" game along the way...and then it was pumpkin carving time. Have you ever read The Pumpkin Patch Parable? Well, that's the book we use, where a pumpkin is a means to teach a Biblical lesson about Jesus. We lit our pumpkin candles and displayed them proudly on our entertainment center as we moved on to the next phase of the evening. The treasure hunt. We give clues which tell our kids where to find each "treasure."

The last part of the evening was supposed to be a family movie...but, for whatever reason, it was already 10:00 pm before we finished the treasure hunt. So, the movie had to be pushed off to another night.

Actually, Pumpkin Day typically extends beyond Oct. 31 itself. The weekend before, we make a trip to a wooded park for a family walk (and pictures...we must never forget about pictures!). Then we go to the pumpkin patch (which is really Mary's Farm Market where they already picked the pumpkins and piled them up for us).

My kids love Pumpkin Day (which is an understatement of epic proportions). My wife...well, she loves that the kids love it, though, admittedly, it is a lot of work for her. More work, in fact, than any other holiday. I love the fact that it is a family tradition unique to our family. It is a big event. And it is something we do together. And it is events like Pumpkin Day that make me see how important tradition can be for a family.

I think traditions are often lost, today. The idea seems old-fashioned. But I challenge each of you to create a family tradition. Something truly your own, where everyone is involved. You'll be amazed at how it draws the family together.

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