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Halloween: A Time to Create Community


What is Halloween to you? As adults, our perspective is usually connected with the way in which we experienced the holiday as children. Did your family have special traditions or was Halloween more about the seasonal transition between summer and the approaching winter? Did you decorate with ghosts and goblins, celebrate the vibrancy of fall, or let it pass unnoticed?
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The change of seasons is, to me, a natural prompting to contemplate the end of one and prepare for the new. I love the month of October. It delivers bright crisp days, cooler temperatures, and makes room for the coziness of winter. In many ways, autumn is a time of nestling into quiet reflection that lingers through Thanksgiving and Christmas.

How might Halloween teach valuable relationship lessons? Like many holidays, Halloween is about togetherness with relatives or a family of chosen friends and neighbors. It’s about costumes, parties, trick or treating, haunted houses, apple picking, and diving into piles of colorful leaves. Halloween is about creating shared memories with those to whom you are closest.

Most celebrations are, in some way, about connecting around a theme or event. They are reasons to create smaller, more intimate communities within larger cities. Sometimes, holidays are occasions to remember those from days past. So, what do holidays offer beyond a sometimes unwelcome increase in obligations?
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Holiday celebrations bring the opportunity to create and foster community. Why is community important? People thrive in relationships and community offers a chance to form and build these connections. Their quality provides emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. Positive social connections may reduce social isolation, lower depressive symptoms, provide a sense of belonging, and calm the body and mind. How does it feel when a person you love hugs you after a difficult workday? While you may not be able to describe the detailed effects, you might say a hug always makes you feel better.

Community involvement becomes more important if you are single. Often, family is the primary social interaction for us, but as more adults are not partnered, it’s necessary to seek friendships and other social connections beyond immediate family. How might one find others with common interests? Online communities can be a beginning resource to local connections like meet up groups, art classes, hiking, and more.
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For some, the holidays may heighten depressive symptoms or feelings of isolation stemming from the loss of loved ones. If you tend to dread the holidays, try to reach out to one or two trustworthy friends. Their support can help you move through difficult times.

The rewards of creating community and celebrating together are simple. Connections with others remind us we are not alone in the world, that we don't have to be partnered to be happy, and that we can enjoy a meaningful holiday season even if our holiday is unique! In this final weekend of October, open your home to candy-seekers or gather a group of friends for country hayrides and apple cider. Connect with the people who enrich your life and let them know you value their presence in your life.

BY ANITA MARTIN | Love Magazine

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Love Magazine: Halloween: A Time to Create Community
Halloween: A Time to Create Community
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