Halloween arrives in a few days, much to the chagrin of Bible-thumpers everywhere, and the derision for this serendipitous holiday is already pouring in. There are the arguments that Halloween is: a) an excuse for girls to dress like sluts, b) an excuse to get free candy and c) an excuse to dress up.
Why does Halloween have to be an excuse for anything? I'm certain you all recall the halcyon days of your youth, when you went to the mall and your mother bought you a costume that promised to make you look like Dracula, Frankenstein, a Care Bear or a Power Ranger (I was Tommy… yes, I summoned my Zord via flute). Of course, the costume never fit right! That was part of the fun. Everyone looked ridiculous, and you got together with your friends and compared the varying degrees of horror that were the cut of your costume.
Then the fun came. Everyone would grab their bags, buckets or pillowcases, and their UNICEF donation boxes, and head out to the streets. At least we had UNICEF boxes in my neighborhood. A digression: Did anyone ever only go trick-or-treating with the UNICEF box? I know that was the point, but did anyone actually do that?
We used to walk door-to-door (and I lived in the country; we'd cover a couple miles in our loot-seeking), knock and yell "Trick or Treat!" despite the fact that we never played tricks. Parents, of course, stood in a freezing huddle (this is upstate New York, after all, and costumes were generally worn over sweatshirts and long underwear) and exchanged pleasantries with the other parents, who they had just seen at PTA meetings.
Then, it was back to the house! In mine there was a fire in the woodstove, blessedly hot stew in a big pot, and Charlie Brown and his best friend Linus debating the existence of the Great Pumpkin. My sister Sarah and I would spill out and organize our respective candies, and then trade with each other until we had a perfectly itemized haul. This was the best of times.
So, after these sentiments, I beg to ask the question: Why is Halloween an excuse for anything? Can it not just be a day of fun, memories, giving candy and eating it shamelessly? Halloween can be just as much an act of goodwill as Christmas, I think. You'll know me if you see me next Wednesday: I'll be the one with the bag full of candy. Happy Halloween, Geneseo.