Countdown to The Lamplighters: 1 day

Today’s Lamplighters Countdown post is… well, a bit of a rant about HALLOWE’EN.

What inspired this post was a trip to my local library last week, where I spotted this poster on my way out:

a warm Hallowe'en welcome?

What really blows about the message of the poster is the assumption that trick or treating is somehow “anti-social behaviour waiting to happen”.

Give me a break. Really.

Now I understand that costumed freaks knocking on the door for sweets* might be intimidating if you’re a little old lady (*candy if you’re reading this in the good ol’ U.S. of A.). I get that, I really do. I’ve lived in some of the roughest areas of the sprawling metropolis in my time, and I admit that a couple of times I was bricking it when I answered the door on Hallowe’en night. But I have always, always opened my door to trick or treaters.

In fact the day I don’t answer the door, to a bunch of kids dressed up in their Hallowe’en finest, with a ceramic Jack Skellington head filled with treats is the exact same day I’m officially no longer useful. I mean it, it’s proof-positive that I’ve become an old fart (oh, okay that happened already). But if that day really does happen, go ahead and ship me out to Resyk. Turn me into Soylent Green (“…is people!”). The day I don’t open my door to trick or treaters is the day I succumb to the fears that the cretins at the Daily Mail would have me losing sleep over. It’s the day I lose my optimism that the Great Unknown, the Big What If might offer something fun, something different, maybe something challenging and – yes – scary.

Hallowe’en (and its origins) is all about us facing up to perhaps our greatest fear of all – that of our own mortality. Samhain rites around the world have resonated with the simple, common core idea that we should honour our dead on one day of the year – stare death in the face and celebrate it – laugh at it. Celebrate death? How queer. Think about it, if we can do that then we are no longer afraid – and we might even be inclined to give ourselves over to some optimism and fun for at least some of the days and nights that we are still on the planet.

And we might even be inclined to open that door and make a child’s day by joining in with the fun.

I say save the bah humbug for Christmastime, and here’s wishing everyone – young and old – A HAPPY HALLOWE’EN!

a warmer Hallowe'en welcome!

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