Halloween is one of my favorite nights of the year. It’s a night when I remember what it’s like to be a kid, excited about doing something that cannot be done at any other time. It’s also a night when I think about ancient traditions, about honoring the dead and the changing seasons. I love the magical feel of Halloween, how all things spooky get celebrated.
This year, I’m longing for the simplicity of homemade costumes and children who dance through their neighborhood to collect candy. I’m ready for a night that we give over to kids, when adults stay in their corners and be adults. And that’s what I’m going to do – be the grown-up who oohs and aahs at little kids when they yell, “Trick or Treat,” give them candy, wait for the next costumed little person to walk past my newly-carved pumpkins with real candles inside.
I know a lot of adults love Halloween and have fun with costume parties of their own, decorate their yards with abandon, invent drinks that turn blood red or black, let themselves play “pretend” one more time. I’ve done that myself. But this year, it feels just right to let this night be for kids alone. I’ve been thinking about this quite a lot over the past week, how Halloween is the perfect antidote to the nastiness of this election season and how sitting around with a bowl full of miniature candy bars is far less stressful than watching the news. Or discussing which direction our country should take. Or opening the mail. Or scheduling the next appointment, whatever it may be. Or having to reject someone’s poetry. Or submitting my own. Or any number of other grown-up things that must be done. I want to turn my attention elsewhere. And where better to turn it than to kids and the magic they still believe in?
So, at dusk, I’ll light the candles in the pumpkins, put the candy in my special cauldron, and be happy to be the one who gives treats. I’ll be the grown-up who honors Halloween as a time for kids to be kids and for adults to keep the veil over that other world that all those kids will be part of soon enough. Good, simple unplugged fun in an increasingly complicated plugged-in world.