Halloween & the Magic of Play

BatWith Halloween just a few days away, I’m reminded of two things:

 – tender Halloween memories of my son’s childhood years, and

– the innate love of play and pretend. 

One of my son’s earliest pretend characters was a bat. When he was six years old he found a bat hand puppet at a local arts & crafts festival. It soon became a constant companion and alter ego. Among other things it was a great outlet for his inner mischief that at the ripe old age of six, he’d already learned to put limits on. When that fall came around, the costume he longed for was a bat, and luckily making it could be accomplished within my limited sewing skills. Not surprisingly, that costume got used well beyond October 31st. Within the disguise of black wings and tiny pointed ears, his imagination could soar and his playful spirit could shrug off rules and limitations.

His magical six-year-old energy was my teacher, then and now.

It would be an understatement to say I had a lot to learn when it came to play. By the time I was a young mom, I’d fully embraced an ethic of responsibility and self-sufficiency. Play was something I’d discarded early in life. Luckily, that beautiful, brown-eyed boy coaxed me back out into the wonder of imagination. 

My son’s youthful enthusiasm and my husband’s ever-present sense of adventure restored my ability to play. In and among all the normal family experiences – we laughed and we played.

Now, well past the years of raising a child, I am learning  an entirely new facet of the magic of play. In my last career, I made time for work and time for play and they were distinctly separate. Today the lines between work and play have been washed away and I am learning anew the value that play and imagination hold in my life. I’m learning day by day, moment by moment, to treasure them and hold them in a place of honor. 

The innate wisdom of childhood is a teacher to us all. Whether we’re running a solo business, leading a bold new enterprise, writing a book, parenting a child, volunteering at the local shelter, learning a new skill or running for office – how might the whole endeavor by altered if we allow ourselves to be filled with the spirit of play?

In honor of bats and young boys everywhere, this week I’ll be encouraging my own playful spirit. I’ll be watching the animals in my neighborhood and imagining what it’s like to be in their skin. I’ll toss social should’s to the curb. I’ll do my best to embody the playful, mischievous energy of a six-year-old and make my mantra ~ fun, fun, fun, fun, fun!

Won’t you join me??


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