This year my daughter is three and nothing in this universe could stop me from taking her trick or treating on Halloween, the holiest of hallows.
I don’t care if she doesn’t like the owl costume I made her, she can wear anything she wants, but we are getting out there, in the dusk, on this magic night, during this mysterious time of year, and beating our drums to that mind twister, quintessential aspect of life; death.
I want to teach my girl that death is okay, and it isn’t taboo to celebrate because of it. It isn’t something to fear, but something to honor. I want to teach her that there are times when you can feel your loved ones close to you, and for many ancient cultures, this time of year was one of them. I want to teach her that just because you can’t see something, doesn’t mean it’s not real and doesn’t mean we can’t take care of it with our intention and gestures.
I also want to teach her not to binge eat sugar, but that’s sort of secondary.
So here’s my plan:
We will trick or treat and collect candy, but not for us, for the dead.
On November 1, we will place an unwrapped piece of candy in front of each stone at the cemetery; a wink to the enigma that wraps us all in inevitable pain and change.
I want to teach her that death means transformation, and that Halloween, in all of its costumes, is our culture’s way of acknowledging that change for all of us.
Celebrating Halloween is one way to integrate that painfully unitegratable part of life, and not in a mournful way, in a mystified, celebratory one. And this is important for our kids who are being brought up in a youth obsessed culture that’s lost connection to the lessons that loss offers.
Halloween is a way to get that back, even with the sugar, and I think that is something that would be helpful for all of us.