Halloween: A Time For Fun
Hallowed or holy evening takes place the day before All Saints Day. The Irish say that a man named Jack was unable to enter heaven because of his miserliness, and he could not enter hell because he had played practical jokes on the devil. So he had to walk the earth with his lantern until judgement day. This is where the term Jack-o'-lantern comes from. We do love our myths.

The Druids were an order of priests in ancient Gaul and Britain. They believed that on Halloween, ghosts, spirits, fairies, witches and elves came out to harm people. They thought the cat was sacred and believed that cats had once been human beings but were changed as a punishment for evil deeds. From these Druidic beliefs comes the present-day use of witches, ghosts, and cats in Halloween festivities. We do love our symbols.

Halloween has gained incredible status as a holiday in our contemporary culture. Halloween has furnished us with a rich imagery from which to draw and the market place has seized the opportunity to provide us with a plethora of merchandise. Perhaps we've lost sight of the 'original' meaning of Halloween. So be it. Halloween has become a secular holiday that has the ability to unite us, people of diverse beliefs, in celebration, fun, make believe, and games. We no longer need to be tethered to its origins.

The world becomes a stage on Halloween, and we all get to be players. We hide behind a mask, a wig or a sheet. Actually, any costume will do. We don't have to stick with the traditional ghosts, witches, goblins, or fairies. Little girls get to be Batman or Snow White. Big and little girls, and even boys, can become Marilyn Monroe for the evening; men can dress like women without fear of being ridiculed. Skinny little guys can become Green Bay Packers or Sumo Wrestlers. Pimpled faced girls can be princesses. We can become whomever we like and all the other actors and actresses will laugh with us, not at us.

Kids love Halloween, but it's not just for kids. These days when the little tykes truck to the front doors of their neighbors with their bags held out for treats they're likely to encounter, an adult or two, decked out in full costume.

Years ago, my son who was a teenager at the time rigged up his synthesizer to make weird noises. He sat back and watched in playful anticipation as children delighted in being surprised, and a bit scared, by the sounds emanating from our front door. The children hesitated for a few seconds, and then bravely came close to collect their treats and check out that weird, otherworldly noise.

Halloween, the secular holiday, offers all of us, regardless of age or religious beliefs, the opportunity to play with each other and have fun. So go ahead; let your hair down. Don a costume and become whomever you like on Halloween. Play on the stage of amateurs and professionals; play with the children within all of us.

 —M. LaCourt

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