A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Halloween Party

Tonight I had to go over to the Y for the annual Halloween party. It's held a few days before the actual holiday, so that kids can still trick or treat, but for many of the attendees, this was it. No way their parents are going to let them wander around their crappy neighborhoods in the dark taking candy from strangers, holiday or not.

When I was a kid--I'm talking late '50s and early '60s here--Halloween meant trick-or-treating and nothing else. We had to carry pillowcases to hold all the loot. Candy bars were bigger back then! And it wasn't just candy. It was popcorn balls, cookies, maybe money if people ran out of treats. Not all the stuff was wrapped--there was plenty of candy corn and gum balls rattling around loose.

My sister and I would head out in one direction as soon as it was dusk, make a pit stop home to unload our sacks, then go back out a different way. And maybe home and back a couple more times. We had serious sweet teeth and over-protective parents; we needed to take full advantage of a once-a-year opportunity.

Meanwhile, back at the house, Mom would be combing through our haul, picking out the treats she considered inferior. She'd hand that out to other people's kids and throw an equivalent amount of her high-quality purchases onto our piles.

These days--the era of stranger danger and orange alert--safer activities are taking the place of trick-or-treating on dark streets. The kids in this photo got to dress up, but they partied inside a brightly-lit building surrounded by licensed child-care workers. And they had to work for their candy! Sink a putt, bowl a strike, or snare a donut without using their hands to get a prize. Or at least try their hardest to do it.

Everyone at the party seemed to be having a wonderful time. DJs and face painting and bowling for candy is the only Halloween they've ever known. I guess maybe daily life is scary enough nowadays. People don't need to save it up for Halloween.