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Archive for October 31st, 2013

Did you buy your Halloween treats yet? Did you have to go buy them again, because you them all the first time?

I didn’t buy any! This year I have volunteered to help out at a family fun night, rather than my usual tradition of walking my kids around the neighborhood, or handing out goodies at my door. But, my heart will be divided, as trick-or-treating is such a great opportunity to connect with those closest in your community.

Today I am re-posting my Halloween post from last year. Have a good and safe day and night, whatever you may choose to do.

Halloween is, at the very least, an odd celebration.

Children dress up (that is not odd),

go to the homes of strangers (children are generally taught to not speak to strangers),

and say trick-or-treat (threatening their neighbors)

as a means of getting free candy (back to the ‘stranger danger’ point from earlier),

then the taking candy from strangers (something we do not want little children to do).

I am very aware of the pagan, and even satanic background to this celebration, in the past as well as today. I am also aware that the day (and night) can become a night of mischief and illegal activities. In one of the homes we once lived, I would pray for rain, so as to hinder the throwing of firecrackers over houses.

But, my own childhood memories of Halloween center around my grandmother, who I remember spending that night with many times as a kid.

She was a woman who was active in her neighborhood, her church and her family, and she saw Halloween night as an opportunity to see how much the children in the neighborhood had grown since the Halloween before. No trick-or-treat-er was given a smidgen of candy until they had revealed their name, and where they lived. And if they were not from her neighborhood, they got less candy! Plus, once she shut the door, she would grumble about the “nerve of those outsiders, coming to take all our candy from the mouths of the local children.” Ah Gram, and she had an opinion about older trick-or-treat-ers too.

My Gram made the night a fun one for me. I would help her pack the little paper bags full of candy, and get together her penny collection for the kids who would come to the door with the orange UNICEF boxes.

While I was doing this, Gram would be rifling through her costumes, to choose a mask to wear, as she greeted kids at the door. It didn’t matter what mask she wore, it would be accompanied by the same whiny, high pitched fake voice. My personal favorite mask was one of Casper the Ghost. It was similar to the one to the left, distinct enough to know who it was, but friendly looking.

And that is what Halloween was, for me, as a child. People carved pumpkins to look like … jack-o-lanterns, rang the doorbells of the neighbors they knew so well, shared a few sweet candies, and acted silly. All was done in a friendly, jovial manner.

As I see the houses decorated today with lights, sound and tombstones, see the costumes that are more ghostly than friendly, and hear of the illegal and immoral acts of the ‘season’ I miss what I experienced as a child, but am thankful for a neighborhood where the night is still jovial, and many of the trick-or-treat-ers have rung my doorbell before, asking if a certain someone in our home could come out to play.

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