Once upon a time, there was a woman named Maria. She was happily married to her high school sweetheart and together they had two beautiful children. Her husband had a good job, which allowed Maria to stay at home and take care of their kids. They lived in a nice house in a healthy middle-class neighborhood in Baton Rouge and ate dinner together every night at the table. Maria felt incredibly fortunate to have this life because she knew what it was like to grow up in poverty.
Maria’s mother was a single mom who worked multiple jobs just to make ends meet. Maria participated in after school programs because she was considered an “at-risk” youth. Many of her meals when she was a child came from the food bank or the pantry at her church. She got donated clothing and was on the free lunch program at school. She grew up without a lot of toys, so she found entertainment in her imagination and that helped to nurture her creativity. She would make dolls and toys from discarded items. This is why she loved Halloween.
Halloween was the one time of the year when Maria could let her imagination run wild and create costumes from characters she invented. After riding the bus across town to the “good neigborhood,” she would go door to door asking for food without embarrassment. Neighbors were surprised when she would ask for fruit instead of candy and tenderly obliged when they saw her makeshift costume. Those people made her feel hopeful and never like she was a charity case.
As an adult, Maria vowed to do the same for children who were in similar situations. She wanted to give back to the community and make sure that every child had the opportunity to experience the magic of Halloween. She didn’t know how to do this until a friend told her about 10/31 Consortium.
Maria joined the organization immediately and became one of their most active volunteers. Thanks to her help, the organization has been able to give away thousands of costumes and thousands of pounds of candy to those who need them for Halloween. Maria felt fulfilled knowing that she was making a difference in the lives of others and giving them the chance to experience the joy of Halloween just like she did.
The lesson of this story is that Halloween is not just about dressing up in costumes and getting candy. It’s about bringing communities together and giving children the opportunity to experience something magical, no matter what their circumstances may be. Maria’s journey reminds us that we can all make a difference in the lives of others, no matter how big or small the gesture may be.
In the end, Maria learned that the true magic of Halloween is in the kindness and generosity of others. And that’s a lesson we can all carry with us, not just on Halloween, but every day of the year.