Halloween Lessons: Pumpkins & Armor



It’s pretty well documented that for kids that have experienced displacement or trauma, holidays can be wildly challenging. But I guess I didn’t really lump Halloween into that category for some reason.

Between the absolute meltdown, trying to throw pumpkin guts at us, and literally climbing the walls, it was clear this little guy of ours was having a hard time. He ran full speed and smashed himself into our door, busting a latched door open. Alternating between using the doorknob to climb up the door, scratching at the walls, throwing water/toys/food, and generally losing his mind.

I’ll cut right to the discovery time where I played Detective WTF. I tried to bring him back to reality and also figure out what in the world was triggering him so I could attempt to prevent or work through it.

Pumpkins. Fucking pumpkins. A squash did this? All I could think about was what a Christmas tree would bring.

He didn’t know what carving a pumpkin was. He wanted to know if his birth brother was carving pumpkins. He missed his birth brother. He didn’t think his birth brother was carving pumpkins because he wasn’t making good choices. Other questions fired at me… Why didn’t he do this before? What do you do with the pumpkin? What happens to your hand when it goes into the pumpkin?

Little watched us carve the pumpkin so he would know what it was like. He was not inclined to paint the pumpkin either. He would not have anything to do with it but he did do some pumpkin coloring sheets. That was as far as he wanted to get.

Lessons from Pumpkin Debacle: 

  1. The combination between anticipation, fear, and loss is really profound on each and every holiday.
  2. DO NOT tell him what we will be doing until we are doing it in that moment.
  3. Every holiday, ensure adult beverages are on standby and get protective armor to wear.

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