What Darth Vader Taught Me About Parenting

Ok, so this isn’t going to be an analysis of any movie where an evil villain turns soft and saves his son before dying. It’s about Halloween.


As usual we were way late in acquiring costumes and we really wanted to have a family theme. So, after searching we determined that Star Wars was definitely going to be our best option.

Joshua was Luke Skywalker.

Roxy was an Ewok.

Baby Lyza was Yoda.

Hillary was Princess Leia.

Which meant that I had to be Darth Vader (The Chewbacca costume was waaaaay to expensive).

Halloween night came and we walked around our neighborhood with our kids. I noticed that literally every one under the age of 10 stopped and stared at my costume with a certain amount of fear and wonder.

When we got home it was still early and our kids took their position to do their 2nd favorite thing on Halloween (the first is getting candy for themselves) which is to hand out candy. We set up a fog machine by our door and a strobe light along with Star Wars music blasting and began handing out candy.

I still in my costume and ma in her leia cap, decided to sit on the rocking chairs on our porch for a long halloween nap.

As I was sitting there completely still I noticed that kids stared from the second they got to the edge of our property to the time they left with a few morsels of sweetness.  That is when I decided to try something.

I got up, grabbed my retractable light saber and stood by the side of our door completely still in an action pose.

As little ghosts, ferries and goblins came up to our door I would stand completely still until someone would get a little too close to see if I was real or a mannequin and then I would move and watch the shock across their face with the occasional scream.

It was great! Kids and parents were laughing… but not laughing as hard has my own two little ones. Joshua and Roxy didn’t want to wait inside the house for people to come, so they would stand on the porch and wait for people to approach the door and practically drag them over to me. At times they couldn’t hold their excitement and would shout the second someone was in view:

“Come stand by my Dad! I mean Darth Vader!”

We kept it up with Darth Vader’s theme repeating in the background for a couple hours until our street got dark and no more trick-or-treaters were in sight. Then we went inside and put things away and went to bed.

It was a great evening.

I didn’t think too much more about it until the following day. That next morning I woke up to the sound of Darth Vader’s theme in our living and when I went in the room Joshua and Roxy were marching in a circle and singing the song. They kept it up for about a half hour.

Then again later that day.

And the next day.

And the next.

And again after that.

And they haven’t stopped.

Hillary has to hide the iPad and if she ever has music playing and leaves the room, then before long Joshua is bound to change it back to the Vader March.

I have thought about it a lot. Here’s what I realized:

Joshua and Roxy don’t like the beat or notes of the song any more than other songs. They don’t find the instruments more pleasing to the ear. They simply remember the events that surround the song and are reliving the excitement, fun, and overall “epicness” that they experienced.

And it all started with a Darth Vader mask.

Then I started thinking about all the times that my kids wanted to have fun but their dad was a little too busy, a little too tired, or a little too frustrated to do so since then. I realized that they are holding on to the family fun they remember from halloween and they haven’t had something to replace that with yet. Thats why the theme song plays over and over. Each time a reminder that they are waiting for another highlight. A difference experience that will create a new favorite memory.

So, that is now my challenge. One epic memory per week. As much as I love The Darth Vader March I love my kids more and want them to know I have more up my sleeve than a costume and and piece of candy.

Mike Ramsey