Last night when I took my little goblins for their annual "sugar rush" -- circling our friend's development in search of a bucketful of chocolate treats -- the experience was very different than in years past.
While the number of dinosaurs and ballerinas and superheroes and ghosts had not diminished, the number of porch lights certainly had. "Times are tough" commented parents to one another as we passed on the sidewalk. "Or maybe it's the virus scare," said others.
Either way, it was not the Happiest Halloween on record. It was cold. It was dark. And for two little kids who were eager to show off their Halloween etiquette (no walking on grass, always say thank you, take just one, and be ready to burst into song if someone asks for a "trick") it was downright discouraging.
The experience got me to thinking about this time about a decade ago, when the Y2K scare had people hunkering down and squirreling away gallons of water. One relation of mine (I won't mention names here, as we all need covering for our stupidity from time to time) stored so much water on her laundry room shelves that the shelves collapsed, sending about an inch of water to the nether regions of the house. At that time, John Paul II was admonishing the faithful, "Be not afraid . . . open the doors of your heart to Christ!"
This advice is no less relevant today. Given a choice to hide in fear or celebrate life . . . choose life. Hand out penny candy and ask for a trick. Wear gloves and mask if you absolutely must (call it a costume). But bear witness to the community, the need to need each other.
Today at Catholic Exchange, I've written an article on the subject. Here's the link. Enjoy . . . and Happy All Soul's Day!