Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

I know a lot of you have been told that this is the most evil holiday invented by man. And maybe that is true, but I am going to invite you into the Spook House of my mind and consider it from a different perspective.

What other holiday can we be whoever and whatever we want?

I typically dress up as a fairy. Something small and unalarming, but packs a big wallop. It is who I wish I could be, complete with wonder working wand and glitter that can make you fly. I would sprinkle it liberally on all my friends, because I would have an endless supply. I could heal wounds, pick locks, and put bullies in their place just by being that dazzling light that zips around
their heads.

What would you be if you could be anything? Take off your limitations, and smash your inhibitions. Dream big, and see what you learn about yourself. Are you a princess, a mutant turtle? Superman? Batman? Wonder Woman? An animal? A concept or idea? (One year Lauren went as a figment of my imagination.) Do you have special powers or just dazzling in your beauty? Are you terrifying and why? What would you wish to scare? There is so much to learn when we let our minds go and let ourselves dream beyond the mundane.

And besides that, what other holiday allows us to ask perfect strangers to give us stuff?

What could be more honest than that?

I want you to give me sweet things, and I will hold out my bag expectantly waiting for your compliance. And why do you give me sweet things, because I had the guts to ask – no matter how many pumpkin lights and fake spider webs you have on your doorstep.

It is a lesson I want my children to learn and learn well. Sometimes we have to face our fears to get what we want, and most of the time the things that scare us the most are just for show.

I don’t do this on Christmas, getting what I want requires more than a request, more than just being there. I have to behave properly, and hope that I get what I want from people I love and claim to love me. I don’t transform into I want to be, I become who I am expected to be all for the sake of bribe wrapped in shiny paper and a red ribbon.

I don’t do this at Thanksgiving. I go and mind my manners around a table loaded with things like yams, cranberry sauce that looks like a can, and mushy squash casserole. No asks me who I want to be, or if I would rather have snack size snickers. It is tradition and all bends before the weight of it.

I don’t do this at Easter. I look for eggs that might give me food poisoning if I ate them. I get cheap chocolate, just because it looks like a rabbit. I wear a frilly dress made of pastel colors, and try to look cute – something I was never good at. If I am really lucky, I might get Reese’s egg, but usually custom dictates Cadbury Cream one – gag. Everything is sugary sweet, and I am expected to be so also.

I can’t deny there are many aspects of this holiday that bother me, but on the flip side, there is so much to learn. It is the one day a year where we are conditioned not to be upset if a stranger knocks on your door and demands us to give them things. Why can’t we be like that all year?

It is the one day when our real lives, responsibilities, or anyone else’s expectations limit what we can be. It is the one time when we are given the permission to envision a different reality, a better one where we truly sparkle and shine. I wish it was a freedom we could experience every day.

So let’s take the good things we can learn from this day, and make them our own. I hope you chose to meet strangers with sweetness, meet a request with ready response. I hope your home is filled with wonder and hope of a reality greater than the one we see. I hope you chose to be something amazing today, and every day. Happy Halloween.

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