Tuesday, November 01, 2005
The Spirit of...Halloween?
I love Halloween! Mostly it's because of the costumes–I freely admit it–but that's not the whole story. Trick-or-treating is great, too, and not just for the candy. As a kid, I loved the candy, but I never finished it all. And I loved the sheer number of people who got to see–and compliment–my costume every year. (In my family we always had really great costumes, or at least distinctive, and practically always handmade. And we didn't stop visiting houses until every house was dark!)
More than any of that, though, there's just such a great spirit to Halloween. There's a sense of community you rarely see; it's even rarer today than when I was a kid. On Halloween, you actually see your neighbors, and they see you. You might even talk to them. (Imagine that!)
And everyone is so generous! It's practically the only time you see people willing to give little gifts to strange people without a major disaster involved. Yes, we give at Christmas, but that's different. It's mainly just to friends and family, or at least people we have some connection to. And yes, most people make an effort to give something to the less fortunate during the holidays. That's admirable.
But Halloween is different. Our world is a scary place; after dark, we usually regard strangers on our doorstep with apprehension, if not outright suspicion or fear. But at Halloween, a complete stranger can come up to your house, knock on your door, and receive...candy. It's a small thing, true, but's its willingly–enthusiastically–given, even if that stranger really does look strange... (Especially if they look strange!) That has to be worth something.
Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving are far more important holidays, I would say. But maybe Halloween has something to teach us, too. Maybe we need trick-or-treating. Too bad it's dying out.