Last year at about this time, I got a birthday card in the mail from a very good friend of mine. The card had a Thoreau quote written on it:


“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.”


As birthday cards often are, the card was very appropriately timed. However, this one was more timely than usual.


When I received the card, I was a week shy of the first 10/31 Consortium meeting and, honestly, I was scared. I was a single mother who worked full time. How could I take on a project this important and succeed? My fear had begun to take over and I found myself looking for an escape. That is, until I received the card.The simple message it contained is nothing new; we all have heard it before. Everyone knows you are supposed to do what makes you happy. While that’s a great idea, we all know that it’s easier said than done. Life often gets in the way of doing what truly fulfills your soul. But sometimes, life opens a door or a window, and if you stop long enough, you see that the opportunity to live your dreams is there. Some people take advantage of this opportunity without thinking twice. Others turn away due to fear… of the unknown, of failure, of change…. just as I was about to do.


When I read the card, I decided that I would no longer let my fear get the best of me. My friend had faith in me, so why shouldn’t I? I would no longer look for my escape. Instead, I would face this fear of mine as confidently as I could, even if I had to follow the age old advice of “fake it ‘til you make it.


I started the presentation of that first meeting with a shaky voice and butterflies in my stomach. The friend who gave me the card sat right in the front row. She laughed and cried in all the right places and that calmed my nerves tremendously. I quickly realized, however, that the positive energy in the room wasn’t coming just from her. Everyone in the room was attentively listening and excited about the plan I proposed. It was a huge victory for my confidence because I had YOUR support. My friend gave me the courage to get through the night. All of you gave me the courage to live my dream.


Looking back on this past year, I still can’t believe all that we have accomplished. 10/31 Consortium is nearing its 100th member, we have just hosted our 6th event, an incredibly hard-working team of 15 board members meets every single month to serve you, we have started this monthly e-newsletter, and we are filming a documentary on the first parade. We even already have a two presenting sponsors for the Halloween Parade – Gerry Lane Enterprises and the 13th Gate Haunted House. (Be sure to thank them with your business!)


I have been going after this dream of mine for a year now and I am more confident in it, myself, and the Baton Rouge community than ever before. We will have a Halloween Parade on October 29, 2011. We will continue to support and bring awareness to Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital, the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank and the Baton Rouge Big Buddy Program. We will help revitalize Trick or Treat in Baton Rouge. We will make a positive difference in our community through the fun and creativity of Halloween. And Baton Rouge will become a Halloween destination.


If this sounds like something you don’t want to miss, I hope you’ll get involved. Who knows, this could be your opportunity to live your passion as well.


by Kelley Criscoe Stein