Bonfires Burning Bright…

by Johnny Pain

JP Halloween 1985

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. The skulls, witches, Dracula, Frankenstein, I’ve loved it ever since I was a kid.

Some of my best memories of growing up are of the excitement and preparation of my costume for Halloween as well as the actual night itself. The orange plastic pumpkins I filled with candy, fruit (from the lame families on the block), and the occasional king size Three Musketeers (from the Johnny Pain’s of that era), the cold fall air with the smell of burning leaves and fireplaces, I loved it all. I’ll never forget those times and I certainly wouldn’t want to.

It’s too easy now as a grown up (of sorts) to overlook the importance of holidays and special events. I have been guilty of this as much as anyone the last few years. As a father I realize that my three-year-old son is not at all interested in what I have going on in my life at the moment. Business, finances, relationships, my friends’ legal situations, none of these things mean much to my little boy. What does mean a lot to him at this age is dressing up in his costume (he’s going to be a hot dog this year) and hitting the streets of my neighborhood scaring the neighbors into giving him candy lest he bring evil doings to their home.

What a tradition, huh? Who wouldn’t like that?

This Monday night is a highlight of his year. For me it could be just another night, or I could really consume myself in doing what I can to make his memories of Halloween as great as mine are.

To all of the fathers out there, think of every special memory that you have from childhood and then think about what you could do that would give those gifts to your children. If you don’t have good memories to reflect on, think about how you can make it so that your kid(s) won’t have the same issue as adults.

Invest some of your time and energy this Halloween into a creating valuable memory that will compound over the years and immortalize you in the hearts and minds of your children.

Johnny Pain is the man behind as well as the notorious Greyskull Barbell Club, and several other ventures. He is the author of several books on subjects pertaining to strength and conditioning. He can be found comically entertaining questions on his Q and A forum at or can be reached for consultations, training seminars, or speaking engagements at

You can also follow him on Twitter @thejohnnypain


5 Responses

  1. Worth

    I’m from Michigan, and I currently live in Texas. All I can say is that I miss the smells of bonfires and wood burning fireplaces. This gas burner/fake fire stuff frustrates me. There’s nothing better to me than going outside in a flannel jacket, getting firewood and relaxing that evening watching the Wings beat the Flyers (couldn’t resist). There’s definitely something to be said about the differences between growing up in the north (I guess technically Michigan is the midwest) than growing up where snow never hits the ground, which predisposes you to drive like an idiot. I do not have kids yet but will definitely take this to heart. Great article!

    October 31, 2011 at 9:53 am

  2. shutupandsquat

    I have an eerily similar photo of me from my first Hallow’s Eve dressed up as a green dinosaur, clutching my tail…except I look more like I’m giving mine a tug.

    Nice article, JP. I don’t have any kids, but I do have an 11 year-old brother. I’ll try to heed your advice and help make some awesome memories for him.

    October 31, 2011 at 12:20 pm

  3. MetCop

    Very nice article, this is something that is constantly on my mind. My good memories about Christmas and the holidays come from TV and movies, where as my reality was a little different. As a dad of three little girls, I make it my mission in life to give them all the best possible childhood. I just started reading your articles this summer, keep up the good work.

    November 1, 2011 at 6:40 am

  4. Mitch

    Beautiful article. I’ve got an 18 month year old and the one thing I want is to be a good dad.

    November 1, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    • I’ve got no doubts that you will Mitch. The fact that you want to be that puts you leaps and bounds ahead of many these days.

      November 1, 2011 at 5:40 pm

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