Growing up I loved Halloween, what could be better than a night when you get to dress up, stay up late and eat candy. I remember as a kid walking around the neighborhood with my parents and then as I got older walking around with friends.
Today our children don’t observe Halloween, like Christmas, Easter or Kwanza…Halloween is not our holiday. (Although it does provide excellent opportunities to buy Purim costumes) Our kids hand out candy, saying hello but they understand that its ok for us to have holidays and for our friends to have different holidays. Some will say, Halloween has become everybody’s holiday, it’s secular, perhaps using Thanksgiving as example. I think we can all agree that both Halloween and Thanksgiving started as holidays far different that how we celebrate them today. I’ll admit, these argument have a lot of validity, but for now we will stick to passing out the candy!
Yet what I found even more important about Halloween this year, is that we get to see our neighbors. I read a great book this summer, Deeping Community , the book discusses the fact that 20-30 years ago families went from socializing on the front porch to spending time in the backyard. That subtle change, makes a huge difference in the way we see and understand our neighbors. Think about the difference from sitting outfront having a glass a wine and seeing people walk by saying hello, versus sitting in your backyard, with a 6ft high fence, in your own bubble. I am lucky that at least I have to walk across the street to my mailbox, typically seeing neighbors and getting a chance to chat.
In the world we live in today, we don’t need the candy and we don’t need to stay up late…but we do need to see and talk to our neighbors. I will be the first to admit that I don’t know my neighbors as well as I should. If they were sick, would I know, would I know enough not to bring them chicken soup if they are a vegetarian?
We are 9 days out from the most polarizing election of my life and while I don’t agree with some of my neighbor’s politics, they are good people, who care about their children and mine. They care about our community, our country and the world. The more we step outside our bubble meet people that are different from ourselves the less we say “them” and “those people”.
Tonight I got to see princesses and sharks, fireman, knights and jedi warriors. I also got to meet some of their parents and see how much they love and care about their kids and how much they care about mine. I didn’t expect to enjoy Halloween, turned out I needed it.