Isn’t it interesting that the holiday season of November and December each year actually begins with Halloween? The ghosts and goblins, witches and black cats, monsters and lots of zombies, will come knocking to welcome us into the holiday spirit with a warning, “Trick or treat!” By the way, you’re supposed to act scared, but then your better nature takes over and you respond with something for which your menacing visitors will, if all works according to plan, say “Thank you! Happy Halloween!” and go merrily on their way.
I can still remember the neighbor who made wonderful cookies – served warm, by the way. OMG, I still can’t refuse a cookie. I see a cookie and I see her face faking fear, and then a warm smile with a twinkle in her eye. Too bad we can’t provide treats like homemade cookies anymore. I think it’s the candy lobby. But my point is that Halloween teaches both children and the fearful child in all of us not to fear those evil things that knock on our door, but respond to them with kindness. Behind every scary mask there is a child that hungers for love and acceptance, and a tangible affirmation of goodness. I know you’ve been surprised, as I have, by an act of kindness transforming a cold, difficult, or even hostile situation into a peaceful and uplifting one. More often than not, it’s someone else’s kind deed that transforms me.
The fight against hunger is a year-round Halloween experience. It is frightening not to be able to feed your children, or provide them with healthy food, or to sit in your small apartment as a senior not using your electricity to keep warm because your pantry is almost empty. The rest of us don’t like to know about these things because it could be us. And when we do, we slam the door in their face and tell them to get a job, or call them names, like lazy leeches, or frauds. Yep, lots of monsters out there. How much more peaceful we would be if we simply responded to them with kindness, sharing a bit of what we have, knowing that behind what scares us is a friend sent to remind us that we’re human, with the power to turn evil into good.