Somewhere, a few of our grandmothers are rolling over, leaning on their elbows and saying (as mine used to), “The idea”.
Now I’ll eat any type of baked good, so they really needn’t have gone through all that trouble to get my attention. They didn’t need to max out on the oranges and browns to approximate the colours of fall, (that we don’t have here), and line the pans with fallen leaves.
I visited a supermarket over the weekend where I took a gander at the bakery case, and I was greeted with all manner of banners with pumpkins and bats attached, along with wishes for a “Happy Halloween”. I’ve seen the ads on American TV, but I’ve only just realized that we’re observing it here too.
We didn’t grow up celebrating, or even recognizing Halloween. Celebrating the dead, you say? Talk like that was the quickest way to get the parents of people my age wringing their hands and worrying that their children were worshipping the devil. Looking back, they are probably praising the Lord that 24-hour cable was still in the future so that we didn’t have such a bird’s eye view of what people were doing up there in America.
The closest I ever got to celebrating the “holiday” was during my time away, when I got invited to a costume dress party that someone had planned around the same time that Halloween fell. I wasn’t planning on spending a ton of money so a cap and an apron in a plastic bag were right up my alley. I just had to figure out how to turn them into a French maid’s outfit – because for the paltry sum I spent, they weren’t going to tell me how to do that too.
But you know, it was their thing – so I went along. The kids were busy wasting perfectly good breakfast food by throwing eggs at buses; they were supposed to be rotten, but in the true spirit of the celebration, I decided not to care. Since I lived in an apartment building where there weren’t any children I was spared the constant ringing of my door bell with some kid expecting me to share my candy with him.
It’s taken about eighteen years for some of us to feel enough at ease about adopting a holiday that’s been brought in from somewhere else. In the retail business, it’s sometimes important to recognize all holidays – real or invented. And in the party business, it’s sometimes important to give the party-goers another celebration – local or imported.
But it was bound to happen – this embracing of Halloween and all of its ghosts in October. After all – we’ve gotten quite comfortable with Christmas and its trees in December.