Halloween really ought to be our national holiday. For real. It's not in my top three favorite holidays, but for some reason this year the quirkiness of this holiday struck me. On no other occasion is every single home expected to give free candy to every stray, oddly-dressed child who threatens for it. Regardless of race, religion, age, or gender, it's a given that we all participate. It's not a holiday necessarily centered around family or the people we love; the most exciting parts (at least for kids) (well, for that matter, maybe adults too- plenty of parents in our current neighborhood were strolling behind their kids with beers in hand) take place away from home. Its success depends on the participation of the community and public acceptance. It's the only night kids are encouraged to take candy from strangers, for crying out loud. It's such a topsy-turvy, contradicting mix of fear and fun, of terror and sugar, of screams and laughter. And I guess one of the many benefits is that it can be expressed in a bajillion different ways through decorations and costumes, whether hand-spun or store-bought; and unlike Thanksgiving or Christmas, there's no pressure or mounted expectation to be a smiley, loving, perfectly functional family unit. Expectations are as broad as your own creativity allows.
In other news, I will never ever grow tired of watching autumn leaves flare up like so many matches, and burn down to smoldering embers until cold November rain snuffs them out.