Clyde Davis: Local Columnist
The time is coming, and is indeed now upon us, when goblins and ghosties, black cats and Harry Potters, Disney princesses and superheroes, will prowl the streets and gather booty, threatening us at our very doors and proving once again that, even in our own homes, we are not safe from their depredations.
My oh my, what shall we do?
The worst of it is, most of these scary denizens are less than four feet tall.
Yes, it is Halloween season, and the day itself is fast approaching. Halloween — All Hallow’s Eve — the day before All Saints’ Day, when the Christian community traditionally celebrates the company of saints.
Also, in many cultures, it is a day when people — particularly children — are allowed to dress up in costumes and frighten us adults, who then pretend to be terrified, mollified, or horrified — anything except identified, because that is the purpose of the costumes.
It coincides, in the calendar, with a day set aside by certain nature-based religions such as Wiccans or pagans, to celebrate the seasonal cycles.
Nature worshippers are not Christians. They are not, however, devil worshippers. They do not venerate evil.
When did this idea become a firebrand to be waved by arch-conservative churches?
When did it become a rallying cry for the same people who distribute Jack Chick tracts and purport themselves to be God’s haloed people in whatever community they happen to be ministering?
There are real horrors to Halloween, but they are not the kids pretending to be Hogwart magicians or Spidermen. The real horrors emerge in the form of degraded sickos who use this day to harm children. But, enough of the negative. That’s not the purpose of this column.
The real focus of Halloween, in my line of thinking, should be upon the kids — the four-foot high candy raiders we mentioned at the beginning of this piece. It has been tradition that this is their day to celebrate, have school parties, and be safe as they canvass the neighborhood.
Don’t get me wrong. It doesn’t matter whether you choose to call it a harvest party or a Halloween party, whether you ask kids to dress in certain costumes or give them free rein; whether you construct a fake haunted house for the older kids or not.
The point is, not to take it away from them — the children.
Here’s an early memory, too early for me to know what age I was: I came down the stairs dressed in my costume — probably Caspar the friendly ghost. He was my favorite.
My Dad, who was a wonderful playmate and played a great Tonto to my Lone Ranger, pretended not to recognize me and to be terrified. Did it give me lifelong psychological damage ? No, just a memory that I’ve cherished for about 45 years.
It is vital to construct ways to keep children safe and there is certainly nothing cute about the occasional acts of vandalism that older kids engage in. No, I don’t mean window-soaping and toilet paper, but the paint and other destructive stuff.
However, to rob the four-foot high monsters of their fun in the name of a particular religious approach?
Come on. There are more important things to focus on without that smokescreen. You celebrate — or not — in your way. Let others celebrate in theirs.
By the way, if you see a guy about 5’ 8” and close to 200 pounds, dressed like Willie Wonka, and he tries to talk you out of Snickers, don’t give him any.
It’s me, and I don’t deserve them.