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Holy Day, Holiday, Halloween
Halloween is the best holiday of the year, hands down. Why? Because it dresses up in orange. The boldness, the audacity, the unmitigated cheer of orange cannot be denied. Orange says, "I am here, I am happy, and I will dance until I'm dead." Which it does when November and its big winds roll in.
Why else? Because adults go out of their way to have fun for the fun of it and for the kids. It's a miracle, really. We all work hard for our money, and in Connecticut we are bound to give most of it to the state and federal government and to the insurance company in blindingly large chunks. But what do we do with what's left? String up fake dead people in our trees, throw some spotlights on them, and then give candy to the dressed up kids who show up screaming and laughing. The screaming and the laughing and the empty candy bowl are the rewards. That's it. For the price of a bag of candy and the investment of a little imagination, you can make countless people feel good. (Try handing someone a ten-cent piece of candy at Christmas and see how happy you make them. No, my friend, the magic rests in Halloween.)
Usually when I write something about Halloween, somebody gets back to me about the devil and the final destination of my soul. I appreciate the concern, but there's no cause to worry. The little boys and girls dressed up like Harry Potter (They're still doing that.) and Disney princesses, and (yes) Jason are spinning polyester dreams a thousand ways with no cause beyond having fun with friends and doing what is unheard of every other day of the year: making noise in the neighborhood after dark. Oh, my.
Nowadays, you can put your Christmas doodads in the shopping cart right alongside you foam pumpkin and your mask. It's crazy. (Remember: candies in red and green wrappers are for Christmas, and orange and black wrappers are for Halloween. They might have the same sell-by dates, but still, get it right.) One of our neighbors mixed and matched herself to this great display. Next week, all she has to do is take the bloody hands off the tree and she's ready for the most expensive holiday of all.
Back at the ranch is my favorite reason for celebrating Halloween: my beautiful girl and her birthday, which falls on October 29. This year, she is 16. Her friends and her cousins came over to surprise her with a little impromptu party. They put their brownies on their pizzas and munched and laughed away and told stories and laughed some more.
Adella congratulated me for capturing the energy of the moment in this picture. I thought that was very tactful of her since it's a pretty lousy photo of a pretty special moment. Still, I hope when she blew out those candles she got her wish.
What's Halloween about? It's about not being afraid of the dark--because you have friends who are right there with you. It doesn't get better than that. Which is why I love Halloween.