OF TRICKS AND TREATS
Halloween is on the calendar, so everyone knows it lands on the last day of every October. Many Americans begin planning for it months, if not a year, in advance. Millions of companies allow, and some even encourage, their employees to decorate their work spaces; and many sponsor costume and other competitions to help liven the day whose origin comes from ancient attempts to ward off bad spirits. Retailers and other consumer-facing businesses spend lots of time and money to festoon their public spaces with decorative witches, ghosts, skeletons and other seasonal trimmings, as do countless apartment-dwellers and homeowners.
According to a National Retail Foundation survey from September 2016, Americans were expected to spend a record $8.48 billion on Halloween. Almost 80 percent of the preparations for this holiday were to be completed by the middle of October, meaning that most of the estimated 171 million participants would be ready well in advance of the big day.
Having a big event occur on the same day every year is a convenient and efficient way to ensure as much participation and preparation as possible. It gives its interested parties a specific target; and, because the Halloween theme never changes, they all know what to expect, so they’re ready when the big day arrives. It also doesn’t hurt that participants consider this a fun and exciting event, and most folks look forward to the prospect of getting sweet treats to help celebrate the day.
Unfortunately, preppers don’t have the same luxury of having a specific date on their calendars and knowing the theme for the threat for which they’re preparing. It’s not as easy for us to make a targeted plan, dedicate specific resources and take advantage of huge sales on the gear and goods we’ll need. The fact that most survival rations aren’t especially yummy and life-threatening incidents aren’t fun doesn’t make this sort of planning exciting for a lot of people.
That’s why we need to do a little every day to ensure that when the specter of doom knocks on our door, we’re ready with more than a few candies and a flashlight with dead batteries.
This is the trick to being prepared. Just as Halloween participants don’t gather all their accoutrements and treats at one time, we need to take incremental, but purposeful, steps to attain the goals we’ve set to protect ourselves and our loved ones from the dangers we feel are the most likely to come our way. Because many of the skills and stores we need to accrue will serve us in multiple survival scenarios, we will have the flexibility of being able to address multiple threats with a core set of supplies and knowledge. Concentrating on those elements first will help us accelerate our level of preparedness.
The treat comes when you have been able to endure hard times—maybe even truly horrific events—and be able to thrive on your own or with your family or survival group. While there might be a huge sense of loss and potentially unparalleled changes to your way of life, you will have a profound sense of pride, validation and appreciation that your efforts resulted in the preservation of your life and the lives of those closest to you.
It might not be a bucket full of chocolate bars, an award for your Elvis costume, eyeball hors d’oeuvres or the shameless glee of scaring the stuffing out of your boss. But being able to endure a natural or manmade meltdown, as well as overcome the bad spirits of a life-threatening event, is pretty cool, too.