I visit Abu Sahajj Hakim’s blog frequently to get a different perspective on America. I love and respect him, his writing, and his beliefs. He recently wrote a post about Halloween and I wanted to comment, but I resisted because I thought it would be a great topic for a blog post.
Here’s an excerpt of his post:
Halloween is the most indulgent and frivolous event in American culture. Yeah, yeah… I know your kids love it and it is so fun right! Yeah well, my guess is that in 1767 going to the market place to select a new slave to perform childcare and domestic duties was thrilling and rather adventurous for children (my point is that all things indulged are not inherently noble, which is a fairly obvious point).
I want to tell you why I love Halloween.
I am grateful for Halloween because of…
Joyful memories from my youth
A gaggle of about 20 of us kids, ages 6-12 spent hours trick or treating (without adults), returning home with pillowcases full of candy, emptying them on the living room floor and returning to the streets again and again.
The brown house with the orange double doors that handed out football cards in 1978. I still know where it is.
Adults checking my candy for poison, needles, and razor blades. Their unfounded fears were based on legend, but it somehow added to the fun. I remember thinking at each house – Is this the guy that poisons little kids?
Descending on an old abandoned 4-story boarding school we named “Hell House” for pitch-dark games of capture the flag.
Hell House Gate 2006 Chanhassen MN- The building was torn down a few years ago
Hooting, hollering, and laughing in marijuana-hazed theaters showing midnight runs of campy “B” horror films. I know, I know, but it’s a happy memory for me. 🙂
The Theatre in 2006 – they turned it into a Hollywood Video and offices, but the marquee is still intact
The joy it brings children
I dropped my son off at a Halloween party this morning. He was dressed up as a blue and purple fuzzy monster. When he entered the party a dozen kids swarmed around him, his eyes sparkled and his face beamed with delight.
The joy it brings my wife
She takes the time to get just the right costumes for the boys. Halloween is a social time where she gathers with family and friends to decorate the house and carve Jack-O-Lanterns. She takes special care to find the perfect candy to give to our little goulish Halloween visitors.
The joy it brings me
I plan to build a Haunted House in my garage for all the neighborhood kids. That’ll give me an excuse to dress up in a silly costume and entertain children – something IT managers don’t get to do very often.
I also plan to have a bonfire where I tell the ghost stories that I write.
Halloween has no religious connotation to me. To me it’s simply a chance for us to escape the blandness of our lives and be creative and frivolous.
Since we live in a culture of fear, I believe Halloween also helps us deal with our fear by allowing us to feel fear in relative safety.
If I could say anything to the ancient pagan Celts and Scots who invented Halloween, I’d say…
Thanks for inventing something so incredibly fun, you’ve brought tremendous joy to millions of boys and girls. Chalk one up for the Pagans.
P.S. Please feel free to share your happy Halloween stories in the comments.