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How to Scare Cancer on Halloween

Halloween 2006.

Art had been diagnosed with Stage IV Large B-Cell Lymphoma two months before.

Halloween was our FAVORITE time of year. Art loved dressing up, sometimes in costumes no one got. One year, when we lived in a small town in North Carolina, I dressed in all white. He dressed in all black.

We went as "each other."

In 2006, the costumes just came to us.

  • Art went as Mr. Clean cause he said, "my body is riddled with cancer. I'm anything but clean. And it's the easiest bald costume to do." (He changed to a white t-shirt after the photo.)

  • The Wonder Woman costume was given to me by Langston, who said "Mom, you should go as her. She looks tough."

  • Langston choose death which still weirds me out a little.

  • Ezra was the regenerating Wolverine, perfect as the son of a regenerating father who lived for two more years after the first cancer should have killed him!

  • Pallas went as the devil, in support of her older brother, death. That didn't weird me out.

Halloween would have been a huge mess if it hadn't been for our friends. One parent took Pallas and Ezra costume shopping. Another family brought over candy. And when I insisted on hosting Halloween, two families brought the food and disposable everything so cleaning up was simple.

Halloween marks the launch of the holiday season and cancer could

care less.

And the holiday's suck for a person or family who is dealing with cancer. It's particularly hard to ask for help (if they have the courage) because they know everyone is crazed. And if you're honest, it's hard to offer help because you are crazed.


There are so many simple little ways you can help. Here is a list of my top favorite ways to support a friend with cancer on Halloween. (Phew...that's a long title!)

  1. Invite her/him to your Halloween party. Seriously, they are sick, not dead and maybe they can't come but an invite makes them feel included and loved and not forgotten.

  2. Take them or their kids Halloween costume shopping.

  3. Host a fright night. If they like scary movies, bring over your Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, HBO, etc password and watch some scary movies

  4. Give out candy. This is half the fun of Halloween.

  5. Take them for a haunted drive. In many towns, there is that one street with super spooky decorations. (It's usually the same street with the super cool Christmas decoration.)

This year I'll be flying out to see Ezra play his last regular season football game so I won't "do" Halloween. Truth be told I've only done Halloween at work.

I can't remember how we celebrated Halloween after Art died. I do remember that there was no party.

What I am grateful for is all the Halloween's we did do as a family.

What I regret? Not enough photos. And that is the last tip, offer to take photos of your friend with cancer this Halloween. Take lots and lots of photos.

You've never heard anyone say, "I wish I didn't have so many pictures."

Happy Halloween!

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