Halloween is the beginning of the winter holiday season.
My brother and I were so excited to give candy out that first year. I was five years old and it was the Halloween we decided to stay in to give out candy to other kids.
It was my brother's turn to hand out the candy, but what he got was a big surprise.
A rush of nearly 10 gang members crushed him and entered our home. What they were planning for us, we will never know. As they piled in our home, they spotted my father who was at the other end of the living room cleaning his rifle.
Unbeknownst to the ruffians, a rifle in the cleaning process is more than unusable. It didn't matter, they took off and Halloween and the following holidays were ruined for that year.
Like any protective father, he ran after them for a few moments, but decided after roughing up the slower, short, fat member of the group, to call the police.
For weeks after that dreadful day our home was vandalized. Rocks through our windows and car stereos stolen plagued our holiday season.
For my family and I, the holidays and family time are very important. Family gatherings are never to be missed, and are of the utmost importance.
The next few years to come we were always looking over our shoulders and Halloween was never again celebrated in our household, courtesy of the local gangsters.
Halloween is still a little weird for me, it's a bit of a scarring childhood memory. But as the optimistic family we are, we counted our blessings and use the holiday season as a reminder that together we can get through anything.