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You've Been Boo'ed

Text by: Christine Pethel

When most people think of Halloween, not much usually comes to mind except for a small number of things to do: decorate the house, find a costume, possibly attend a Halloween party, and decide which neighborhood will be the most fun for your family to trick-or-treat. I'm sure we can all agree that most of the time there isn't much of a community feel, unless you want to count the brief "thank you" that is dryly given while standing at the end of a neighbor's driveway after they drop a candy or two into your darling little one's treat bag. There are, however, a few types of community events one can become involved in such as attending some sort of seasonal block/family/church party, taking part in your city's "Fall Festival", or picking pumpkins at your corner pumpkin patch. But overall, there isn't much of a community cooperative spirit for a month that focuses mainly on ghosts, goblins, and ghouls.

A few years ago, as I was hurrying through all of the above-mentioned Halloween commotion, I received a knock at the door. As I looked through the peephole I was completely expecting to see a person standing behind the door, but surprisingly there was not a soul in sight. Confused, I opened the door and saw just what I expected -- no one. Then, just as I was about to close the door, I looked down, and there at my feet lay a small, black metal basket wrapped in orange cellophane. I was slightly curious, as I always am, and peeked inside before even calling for the kids. As I picked the gift up and looked inside, I instantly recognized chocolate baked goodies, a canister of gourmet hot chocolate, five orange ceramic pumpkin mugs, and a small bag of chocolate covered miniature marshmallows. Immediately a smile crept across my face, and a sort of silent "awww" was uttered from my mouth.

© Jessica Ceason Photography

The kids came running in, and we ripped open the cellophane where we also found a black envelope containing a poem about what this entirely new tradition being introduced to us was. It told us we had just been "Boo'ed!" and we were to pay this gift forward by continuing on with the secret gift giving. As the kids munched on the cookies, we eagerly began planning who to give the next gift to. I realized it kind of felt a little like Christmas, a little more like when we do the "12 Days of Christmas," but just a little more mysterious, which was, I thought, fitting for this spooky time of year.

It didn't take long before the whole family was involved in planning out what was going to be included in our two "Boo" baskets, and which night we, as a family, would be able to make someone else's Halloween feel a little more about others.

We have carried on this tradition year after year, even after relocating across country a few times, bringing the tradition to those new places. It is always so much fun running from house to house while trying to drop treats on doorsteps and ring loud doorbells all while trying to go completely unnoticed. You can imagine how much our family always looks forward to giving a little of ourselves year after year.

We at Polite Society Magazine are excited for any opportunity to make a difference with the people we come into contact with. Whether in a large or small way, touching even just one person's life can make all the difference in the world. We encourage you during this month of October to look for ways to make a difference, too. May we suggest starting the chain of "Boo'ing" a few friends? Try to see how far the giving will go by watching how many "Boo" signs are hung on the front doors of those who have already been "Boo'ed." There's a huge feeling of pride as I walk around Halloween night each year and notice the small "We've Already Been Boo'ed" signs hung on doors, even more so when they are people I don't even know. I feel a little connected to them somehow.

To help you get started, we've already included the poem, instructions and "We've Already Been Boo'ed Signs." Just open and print away!