One curmudgeon’s perspective.
Look, I am not anti-Halloween, but it is not really a holiday. Gods know, I have enjoyed my fair share of trick-or-treating after coming to America at age 12. Now, as an adult, I certainly still love handing out candy by the handful, complimenting babies’ and kids’ costumes. Of course, the babies have no idea what’s going on, but they are really cute.
I have researched Halloween’s history, from its humble Celtic beginnings (dressing up to scare away ghosts and give treats to the spirits to appease them) as All Hallows’ Eve. We humans are superstitious lot, so we try to control as much of our environment as we can. Later, the Church created All Saints’ Day on November 1, to pray for those souls who are stuck in Purgatory.
Since the curtain between the living and the dead is, allegedly, the thinnest on Halloween, both the living and the dead can pass between the two worlds. That may be, but I really have no interest in going to the world of the dead before my time. And although there are people who have died and whom I would love to see again, to do so between giving out candy would be a such a huge hassle. “Just sit over there, Grampa. I need to give out these fun-size Snickers.” In our neighborhood, we usually have a lot of people begging for candy, even if the Colorado weather cooperates with me and it’s cold, and snowing or raining (and my soul is singing).
And so, I will say this now, because I feel absolutely semi-strongly about this non-issue: Halloween is NOT a holiday. A holiday is something deep and meaningful that you celebrate with your family or other people you love (key word here is: celebrate, as in Thanksgiving, Christmas, and, of course, Simchas Torah). While Halloween is fun, and there is candy involved, and a lot of people throw costumed parties, at the risk of repeating myself, and alienating most of my readers, I’ll repeat myself — Halloween is not an actual holiday. And you are totally free to ignore it. You may, or may not decorate. No one takes a day off. If someone wishes you a “Happy Halloween” and you wish them a “Happy Betsy Magruder Day,” a raised eyebrow is all the consequence you get, if that much. There are Halloween cards, but really, they are a limited market — a small selection for overachieving grandmas to send a few dollars to their grandkids.
You may disagree with me. You have that right. You may be a Wiccan and hold Halloween as a sacred holiday — in such a case I stand corrected and Halloween is indeed a holiday for you. But to everyone else, nope, I offer no apologies. We are going to agree to disagree. However, as a good will gesture, I will offer a Halloween joke:
What do vegetarian zombies crave?
Still not a holiday.