I don’t get Halloween.
Ok, so there isn’t a seven-year-old kid alive who doesn’t like to dress up. And getting free candy door-to-door is an idea whose appeal is clear to see.
But what’s the point?
When you think of Thanksgiving there is no doubt what it is all about. Sure, like all holidays, we embellish the point a bit but when you get right down to it a prayer is usually said on this special day because, well, that’s the point.
Christmas, of course, has a purpose. We’re celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. We give gifts to each other to remember the Gift Christ gave to us. Santa does it to us, we do it to each other – all to remember something far greater than what we are. It’s beautiful — and it has a point.
Valentine’s Day is pretty clear too. Get your sweetheart a valentine because, well, they’re your sweetheart and you love them. Only a lunkhead and most married men get this wrong.
Easter is sometimes a little fuzzy. Like Christmas, it is a religious holiday. Where bunnies and colored eggs fit in with Easter has always been a little beyond me but on the whole Easter has a significance for others that is easily taught to kids through fake grass and fluffy bunnies, I guess. But if you put all the frills aside, there are always folks who treat Easter as a sacred time, deep with significance.
Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Fourth of July are self-explanatory and full of meaning. Memorial Day takes a little explaining and Labor Day isn’t near as appreciated as it once was. But they’re all connected to higher thoughts and deep ideals.
The fringe holidays such as National Bosses Day, Administrative Assistants Day, Grandparents Day, and Veteran’s Day all have “duh!” slapped on their label.
Then there is Halloween.
Can someone please explain this to me? I spend a fortune in teeth-rotting goodies that I’m suppose to give away to small people dressed as Princesses, Incredible Hulks and Jedi knights. If you read the literature on Halloween (and there’s not a lot out there, you know), you have to be prepared for these so-called goblins or they will do mean things to you.
Trick or treat.
Let me see if I get this right: A juvenile delinquent dressed as somebody they aren’t comes to your door and threatens you if you fail to give them candy. And why? Because everyone in the neighborhood is doing it. There’s no other reason behind it. It is a celebration of the herd.
And they call this a holiday.
Last year, I was so disturbed by these thoughts that I challenged a few kids coming to my door.
Ding-dong, “Trick or treat!”. Before me stood a poor representation of Harry Potter.
“Hello, can I help you?” I asked with all the courtesy I could muster.
Harry Potter just stood there, leaning on his Nimbus 2000.
“I said, can I help you?” I tried again, thinking that maybe the false hair on his head was clogging his ears.
“Trick or treat.” Harry said, looking at me like I was the dummy.
“Well, I guess we’ll just have to see the trick because there are no treats tonight.”
Harry Potter again just stood there. I stared him down. Finally, he turned and walked away. At the end of my driveway I heard him tell Superman and Spiderman that “a nut lives here”. Nut or not, I figured I just saved myself about 20 cents in M&Ms.
My wife said that Harry Potter probably put some sort of hex on us. But I am still here, nearly a year later and facing Halloween, waiting for Harry’s revenge. Nothing has happened.
And that’s my problem. If Halloween had really meant anything to Harry Potter he would have done his part. But he doesn’t get it any more than I do. And that’s because it is an empty, pointless holiday. Heck, the post office doesn’t even recognize it. The postman comes to my house everyday and I hardly give him a look, much less a free snickers. He doesn’t seem to mind. If it is no big deal to them why is it a big deal to us?
Mrs. Zachary is making plans already for this Halloween. She insists on answering the door this year for some reason.
As for me, my Halloween plans are set. I’m going to plant myself in my office and start answering Santa’s mail for the new holiday season. After all, as soon as those moochers are off my doorstep and filling their arteries with junk it is my time of year. And the days of pointless holidays will be over.