This year I found myself on duty at work during the evening of Halloween when children dress up in costume and go trick-or-treating. We joined in the festivities at work by dressing up in costume and handing out candy to visitors to the library.
While the redeeming value of masquerading in costume and overdosing on sugar could be easily debated for the likes of one trying to haunt abodes of peace and light rather than ghosts and goblins, I readily admit I had good bit of fun at work last night.
Here the night shift is posing in front of the resident statue at the library, affectionately nicknamed Buffy. One of my co-workers usually dresses up the statue in some kind of seasonal attire so it only seemed fitting that Buffy join in the group photo.
Still recovering from a bump to my noggin, I found great distraction from my aches and pains by being a holiday elf - all accessories found at the local dollar store where - yes everything costs $1.00. My red plastic nose had a blinking light inside it that kept up its Rudolph imitation the whole evening.
When I actually had a serious reference question to answer, one of my co-workers dressed as a pirate found herself in fits of laughter just looking at me doing regular work with a flashing light on my head.
Since we had very few customers, the timing was perfect to also revel in celebrating two recent October staffer birthdays behind the scenes. I think we could build a Great Wall replica out of all the candy leftovers brought in to work today. As we chew on Skittles and chocolate bars, we can also chew on Rabbi Marc Gellman's interesting and somewhat humorous article on the relationship between Halloween, spirituality and organized religion.
Another spiritual purpose of Halloween that goes way beyond candy and candy, is the way Halloween opens us up to the possibility of the undead. I have a Ph.D. in Philosophy and so union rules prevent me from believing in things you can only kill with garlic and a silver bullet...there is more in Heaven and Earth that is dreamed of in our philosophy. Halloween puts us, particularly children, face to face with spooks. This is a good thing because if spooks are real, then we have the holiday to keep them away, and if spooks are not real, then, hey, the candy and the party were good. Part of the original Celtic observance of Samhain was the lighting of bonfires all through the night to scare away the spirits of the dead. Yes I know, this is all just bogus superstition, but perhaps, just perhaps…quick! Look behind you!! Wow that was close. -Rabbi Marc Gellman