Monday is Halloween, and although we do not celebrate it like we did when my daughter Marcy was alive and young enough to enjoy the night, we still answer the door to the goblins and fairy princesses from our neighborhood.

“How pretty you look,” I say to the young children wearing long princess dresses. “And how scary you look,” I tell the young boys who have on evil masks they hope will scare everyone.

We have spooky music playing through the intercom when they ring the bell. We used to do that with Marcy’s friends especially. Most of the very little ones scream, but they don’t run away (since most have parents with them). Some laugh, older ones, who are just there for the candy, think it’s corny.

It is a tradition, and traditions are sacred. We open the door, check out the masks and the costumes and then place candy in each bag, watching them trail off to the next house, comparing their ‘take’ to make sure they all got equal amounts.

I remember Marcy always tried to make simple costumes, ones that didn’t feel cumbersome on her. She always looked cute, and I always took pictures. After she would go trick or treating, she would bring home the candy and we’d sort it out. If it was not in a closed wrapper, into the garbage it went. She understood why we did this.

Then her father would invariably ask for a few of the ones he liked and being the generous person she was, she gave him what he wanted. The candy was taken to school the next day and friends exchanged, bartered, bargained and gave away some to those who did not get to go out the night before. The candy was discarded after a few weeks, but the memories of a fun celebration lingered.

These are my happy memories of Halloween, and I hold them close to me. Now on Halloween, I don a different type of mask, one that will cover the tears that start to form and the heaviness in my chest as I open the door, remembering years past. Will it always be like this? Perhaps.

Halloween is one of the holidays that still holds joy, laughter and happiness for the little ones. Never did I think that I would be wearing the mask I wear today, that of a bereaved parent. But we can still look back, remember those good times at Halloween, and smile, as we do with all the wonderful memories of our children. 

Sandy Fox 2011

Sandy Fox

Sandy Fox has won four finalist awards for her recent book "Creating a New Normal...After the Death of a Child" with over 80 coping articles and a huge resource section. One award is from USA Book News in the Health/Death and Dying Category for 2010. The second award is from ForeWord Reviews in the Health Category for 2010. The third is from Royal Dragonfly Book Awards. The most recent finalist award is for the self-help category of the 2011 Indie Book Awards. She is also the author of another grief book, "I Have No Intention of Saying Good-bye." “I Have No Intention of Saying Good-bye” tells the stories of 25 sets of parents and how they moved on with their lives after the death of their child, offering hope and survival techniques. Sandy has headed two national bereavement conferences for childless parents and spoken for many years at Compassionate Friends National conferences, POMC and across the U.S. to a variety of bereavement groups. She also writes articles for the Open to Hope site, EZ articles, and Journey through grief newsletter in addition to her own weekly blog: Sandy can be contacted at to set up any speaking engagements or to ask any questions related to surviving the death of a child. Sandy was a guest on the radio show “Healing the Grieving Heart“ discussing: “I have no intention of Saying Good-Bye: Coping Techniques for the Now Childless.” To hear Sandy being interviewed on this show by Dr. Gloria & Dr. Heidi Horsley, click on the following link:

More Articles Written by Sandy