I was never a big fan of Halloween – it always seemed to me that it was all about greed and gluttony rather than generosity and goodness. M&M’s, Reese’s and Candy Corns fly off the store shelves and into the bags of salivating children holding out sacks for no other reason except that the calendar tells them it is the day to extort sugar from the neighbors. Minute after minute, for two hours, every October 31st, children dart across lawns and trample flower beds, say words they don’t really mean (at least I hope mine don’t mean the part about the trick), follow it up with a polite thank you and then move on to educe more sweets from the next neighbor. Are these really values I want to teach my children?
But this year I had an epiphany. I realized that, as with everything in life, Halloween is what you make of it. You can see the greed, gluttony, ghouls and ghosts and decide to participate half-heartedly (as I’ve been doing) or to ignore the holiday completely by turning off your porch light or going to an alternative gathering of like-minded families. There’s nothing good, bad or wrong about any of these approaches.
But what I discovered this year is that Halloween is more than an annual sugar extortion festival – it’s an opportunity to step away from the daily grind and to spend time with my children, with the added bonus of doing so within the context of a community – greeting my neighbors and their children, chatting (if only for a short time) and seeing folks I rarely see because of my hectic life.
Maybe Halloween is to community what Thanksgiving is to family – a reason to take time out of our lives, spend a few moments together and to catch up on our comings and goings. Maybe this year’s Halloween experience was a cultural experience for me more than for the gals.
As shown in the pictures, our Halloween experience this year included a local corn maze, carving pumpkins and participating in the annual sugar extortion festival. It also included seeing the neighbors and feeling a sense of community as folks camped out in their driveways, fire pits blazing, happily passing out candy and kindly greeting the costumed community. Family, fun and community – couldn’t ask for anything more.