I love Halloween! And so does my neighborhood – Oak Cliff does Halloween big. And so Laura and I made a decision a number of years ago to make the holiday our primary party of the year. Since Grace was 3 or 4 years old, we’ve filled our home with friends and handed out vast quantities of candy in the yard.
In some circles, my enthusiasm might be suspect. I have friends who resist the observation of the holiday. If that’s you, I won’t try to change your mind. However, I do have reasons for my revelry.
First off, Halloween coincides with the arrival of bearable Texas weather. It’s finally cool enough to hang outside without a fan and to enjoy long sits with friends. I’ve lived in three homes built in the 1920s and porches in those days were designed as an extra living room. Autumn is the prime season for hanging out front.
But Halloween is not just for family and friends, home and hearth. It’s a neighborhood celebration. For when else do folks hit the streets and stroll from door to door. There have been several years when I’ve had more good conversations with neighbors on Halloween than on any other day in that year.
It’s a chance to pound the pavement and to notice: which homes are full of life and which are shuttered, who hosts the parties and who resists the hospitality, where do people gather and where do they avoid. As I join the throng of trick-or-treaters, I’m looking for data about my neighborhood, opportunities to be a blessing on the other days of the year.
And finally, Halloween for me is not as much of a veneration of the macabre as a taunt. In losing Laura, I despise Death, the petty thief of cherished ones. But I refuse to let the bastard think that it’s got the best of me or mine. Halloween has become my way of giving Death the finger, laughing in its face. Or in other words,
“Who got the last word, oh, Death? Oh, Death, who’s afraid of you now? For death was swallowed by triumphant Life!” (1 Corinthians 15:55).
That’s my conviction. That’s my celebration.