Saturday, November 01, 2008

Halloween Candy

My neighborhood is rife with the signs of Halloween retail excess - plastic cobwebs, ghosts, ghouls and jack-o-lanterns. J was not able to decide who she wanted to be or "represent" until the end and did not end up going trick or treating. After a very long week at work, I could not be more relieved - for once J's inability to pick out the clothes she wants to wear on time worked entirely to my advantage. Every time a holiday comes along, I think about how commercialization has killed the intrinsic meaning and joy associated with them. Halloween is becoming more and more "plasticky" with every passing year or so it seems to me.

Close to J's bedtime, on my way back from throwing out the trash, that I ran into a neighbor who was walking her dog. She stopped me and said "I have been waiting for kids to come trick or treating all evening but no one came to my house. I don't have children of my own. Please take some candy for yours" She handed me a handful of candy bars. It was an overwhelmingly sad moment as I imagined this older woman ready with treats in anticipation of kids who never come come for them to her door, kids who have other places to go and other things to do - fun Halloween parties perhaps.

I also thought about my own child who stayed indoors because she could not settle on a costume to wear - stumped by the bewildering range of options. And here I was making a connection between two people who if they had met would have made each others day happier. As I walked indoors, I thought about the remnants of the human touch in a plasticized holiday - about how I was bearing it in my own hands. It was a good feeling.

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