Happy Halloween from 2020 AYWW

By Joe White

Halloween a.k.a. All Hallows’ Eve is upon us. On 2020 AYWW’s scary scale, Halloween hardly registers.

According to Sam Portaro in his A Companion to the Lesser Feasts and Fasts, “In the carnival celebrations of All Hallows’ Eve our ancestors used the most powerful weapon in the human arsenal, the power of humor and ridicule, to confront the power of death.”

Historically, the roots of Halloween recede back centuries, even millennia, into deep, dark religious and pagan soil. For some pagans Halloween marked the death of summer, the losing of light, the coming of cold darkness. For some Christians, All Hallows’ Eve marked the start of the Allhallowtide festivities, a time set aside for remembering and sometimes confronting holy and unholy departed souls. Souls that may still be roaming the earth, even seeking a final revenge upon the living before finally departing, thus the need to hide in costumes, so as to fool these wandering, vengeful souls of the dead.

Today, for many children, Halloween is a time of dressing in costumes, hiding behind a mask then dashing through neighborhoods from door to door seeking treats, typically candy.  “Trick or Treat” is the call at every home, whether a friend’s or stranger’s. As the door swings open, typically an adult filled with faux fear upon seeing a gaggle of ghostly, ghoulishly clad children, dishes out handfuls of treats into outstretched sacks. Then, after a chorus of “Thank You’s,” the ghoulish gaggle dashes excitedly off into the night to their next handful of treats. As their young voices drift off and the door closes, it is only moments before the call of “Trick or Treat” arrives from another young, ghoulish gaggle.

2020 AYWW hopes that every child will have memories of a playful night dressing up, being with a group of friends excitedly dashing through safe neighborhoods where every home is ready to share treats no matter race, religion, ethnicity or any of the other rich, diverse differences that flourish amongst our human family. Let this Halloween be an opportunity for adults to reflect upon the joy and easy love that family, friends and strangers can so readily show toward every innocent child. This All Hallows Eve is an opportunity to dampen the suspicions, the intolerance and the hatred that so eerily creeps into so many adult souls to toxically infect their/our social well-being. On 2020 AYWW’s scary scale, war is at the apex of horror. In recent wars, the majority of casualties are noncombatants with some estimates placing the death of children at over 25% of total fatalities. WE ADULTS must stop choosing war. For our children sake, let’s try just one year, 2020. Now it’s time to carve my jack o’lantern and get my bowl of treats ready.