The anti-Halloween crowd is at it again.
It’s an abomination to celebrate a pagan holiday the day before All Saints’ Day, they warn. Halloween makes us revel in death, spider webs on houses and mummies and tombstones on the front lawn.
Such deeds of darkness extend from carving pumpkins to dressing up on college campuses, where deans at places like the University of Colorado Boulder have warned students not to insult anyone with their costumes, to “consider the impact your costume decision” to dress up as cowboys, pole dancers or Native Americans “may have on others in the community.”
All you anti-Hallowhiners, please take a chill pill. Or eat a candy corn, that glorious triumph of sugar, corn syrup, fondant, marshmallow and water that turns your teeth into magical hues of orange and yellow. It isn’t just that Halloween inspires a marvelous, oh-so-American buffet of deep-fried M&Ms, Tootsie Rolls, Twizzlers, and, yes, even deep-fried candy corn. And it’s more than the fact that half the country – more than 157 million Americans – plans to celebrate Halloween this year, with spending forecast to hit $6.9 billion.
All you anti-Hallowhiners, please take a chill pill. Or eat a candy corn, that glorious triumph of sugar, corn syrup, fondant, marshmallow and water that turns your teeth into magical hues of orange and yellow.
Halloween is a refreshingly wonderful neighborhood celebration for families that don’t view it as a trip to the dark side. It gives them a break from the ho-hum grind of everyday life. It lets both children and adults dress up and pretend. It lets us laugh and howl at how silly and funny we are.
It’s a day brimming with memories. A day when your older brother picked the cardboard box from the family’s new refrigerator out of the garbage and turned it into a “Lost in Space” robot costume. A day when your parents got furious that your kid brother cut holes in his bedsheet to become a ghost. A day when you helped your grandmother desperately search for the wig your sister stole to be Sophia Petrillo from Golden Girls. Or my personal favorites: The days I dressed up as a Q-tip, Hurricane Gloria (shingled roof with plastic farm animals on my head), and a woman chased by bumble bees (I had them on invisible wires coming out of my back).
It’s a day when we assume another identity, if just for a few brief hours, and let our costumes tell a funny story. A day when all people, of any age, can abandon themselves to fun. “A grandmother pretends she doesn’t know who you are on Halloween,” said humorist Erma Bombeck.
So let’s hold off, just for now, on engaging in the tedious orgy of self-righteousness and the turgid, orotund fingerwaggy columns droning on about how Halloween can be traced back to the Druid religion of Celtic tribes.
Many things can be abused, but that doesn’t mean those things are wicked in and of themselves – just as, say, wine can be abused (Jesus’ first miracle involved wine.)
Halloween is a hay ride through turning autumn leaves. It’s bonfires. It’s drinking hot cider against the chill in the air. It’s pumpkin guts on the carpet. It’s a day when, somehow, there are mysteriously more trick-or-treaters than neighborhood children. It’s a contest to see who can save their candy past the Fourth of July.
Plus, Halloween is now the unofficial start of the holiday season, as the National Retail Federation discovered that 40.4 percent of consumers want to start their holiday shopping before Halloween. What’s wrong with a little cheer a little earlier amid all the “get out the fright wig” talk from Washington, D.C.?
Elizabeth MacDonald is senior stocks editor of the FOX Business Network and is the author of "Skirting Heresy: The Life and Times of Margery Kempe" (Franciscan Media, June 2014).
her on Twitter@LizMacDonaldFOX.