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Letter to the Halloween Scrooge in the neighborhood
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The twins are ready for Halloween: "Look, I'm a cuddly bear!" "No you're not." - photo by Alicia Walters
I am sure you think that Halloween is merely here as an excuse for children to bother you every Oct. 31 by ringing your doorbell incessantly asking for free candy. And maybe youve considered whether or not they are deserving of your candy, whether they appear to have eaten too much candy in the past or whether they even live in your neighborhood. And Im sure my 3-year-old Darth Vader will find your tiny Tootsie Roll a paltry excuse for a treat and more than anticlimactic in relation to the size of your grand house.

Being the season, one of your neighbors may have placed a giant, inflatable ghoul on his lawn, pretty much securing your house on the map as far as trick-or-treaters are concerned. Instead of spending your Halloween grinching about whether or not these trick-or-treaters even share your zip code, or whether they are an appropriate age for such festivities, you could have a conversation with your neighbor about his choice in lawn ornaments. Or better, consider it a compliment that children have come from near and far to admire your house with the innocent hope of acquiring some candy.

Childhood happens once, my friend. There is no better gift that can be given to a person than a happy childhood. For when we are about to lie down in our graves, the only thing we can take with us are our memories. Any zombie will tell you that.

Certainly, Halloween doesnt make or break ones childhood, but it is part of a larger whole made up of little memories and experiences that comprise either a magical childhood or an empty one.

But some of them are too old to be trick-or-treating, you might say.

To that I ask, would you rather have them going door-to-door collecting candy or doing whatever else teenagers do in their spare time? When you think about it, trick-or-treating is actually a pretty safe activity as far as teenagers are concerned.

Halloween is an American tradition. Our literary heritage alone is steeped in haunting stories of ghosts and graveyards. This would be a good time to dust off some American classics such as "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," "The Masque of the Red Death" or "The Turn of the Screw." Or maybe you would like the American cartoonist Charles Addams series "The Addams Family." Whatever your taste, there is a little bit of Halloweening in almost any genre.

Perhaps you find this trivial and undeserving of your time. You are not familiar with the tale of the infamous Jack. He was said to be a very stingy man. He bargained with the devil that the devil would not collect his soul. When Jack died, the devil kept his word. But because Jacks soul was too stingy for heaven, he had no place to rest his soul. Jack was doomed to wander the earth forever, his only light being an ember of flame from the fires of hell, which he placed inside a pumpkin that became his Jack-o-Lantern.

As ever,

Your Halloween Indulging Neighbor