I’ve never been much into celebrating Halloween. As a kid, my family’s annual Halloween tradition was to turn off the lights and pretend we weren’t home so as to avoid the kids out trick or treating. The tradition continued the next morning when we woke up to splattered eggs and TP covering the front of our house and yard.
We didn’t celebrate Halloween because my parents viewed it as a pagan holiday, not as a secular salute to candy and pumpkins. So I didn’t go out trick or treating. Except for one year — I was 9, I think — when I whined enough so they let me dress up last minute as a hobo to get some candy from the half-dozen neighbors we knew.
My parents were not religious zealots, nor the only ones on the block to give Jack O’Lantern the snub. There were real world scares to consider. This was the 1980s, heyday of the hysterics about needing to get your candy x-rayed in case some nut inserted razor blades, later proved an urban legend.
Today I sit out Halloween not because of paganism but because I find the concept of a holiday built on fear as strange. Can you imagine someone inventing Halloween today, and their pitch was to make a holiday devoted to scary thrills, screams, gore and mayhem?
Yes, there is much innocuous make-believe as well, although once the parties end, there are too many drunk driving monsters on the roads.
Let’s transform Halloween from an annual festival celebrating the creation and consumption of fear, to a day devoted to overcoming fear. What fear can you commit yourself to getting past today? Imagine the energetic shift that would take place, not just for yourself, but the entire world when enough of us focus simultaneously on our inner strengths instead of our outer fears.
Fearing The Great Pumpkin won’t show up doesn’t count.
Photo: Pedro Ferreira/Flickr.com