I took my 12 year old trick-or-treating last night on the streets of neighborhoods around my house. I took the car and kept it warm, because it was cold, and he would dash from house to house and then take refuge in the car to keep warm. So I spent some time alone...musing.
Halloween when I was a child (and I'm 53) was a neighborhood thing. We would all meet at the Revards (because there were 7 of them so they had a group all by themselves) and then we would go door to door in groups. This was before I ever conceived of anything involving getting dressed up as "evil" or "harmful" or "bad". Halloween was more innocent then...I hadn't met any christians to tell me it was evil, no one had poisoned candy or put razor blades into apples so we weren't in danger of dying, and there weren't any terrorists in our world so we didn't know to fear.
Last night, I literally sensed the fear. Long lines of dark houses...people peeking surreptitiously from behind drawn drapes and blinds...don't knock here, i don't open my door to strangers..
Streets that just a few years ago were strung with lights and lit with pumpkins, now dark. Children guarded closely by parents, don't run too far ahead.
I wept for my country. For the fear, first, that we are supposed to be combating but that imprisons us. For the sensation of the "puritanism" in our history that has reached forward again and longs to control us, telling us halloween is evil and bad and the celebration thereof will send you right to hell. For the joy and delight future children will not have in their lives.
Halloween is not a major holiday for most. Most people probably will not even blink when it's gone. Like Mayday, when it left us. I don't think there was a murmer...but we lost something then, and we are losing something now. The innocent abandon of children, dressed as that which they are not, running full tilt into the joy of discovering what the next house has to offer them...
I drove, and watched, and wept and grieved knowing that I will miss it. Wondering if anyone else will...