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Danecdotes: Halloween: Absurd fun for everyone

I think Halloween is one of the most fun days of the year for a lot of people. Parents enjoy dressing their young children in cute and silly costumes, kids enjoy bringing home a pillowcase full of candy and the rest of us just enjoy the utter weirdness of the whole thing. PineandLakes.com Illustration

Before our next issue is out, we will have experienced the greatest holiday oddity on the calendar.

In my humble opinion, Halloween is so, so weird when you stop and think about it.

Most holidays celebrate a religious event or milestone. Valentine's Day (while also religious) is a celebration of love. Independence Day is a celebration of our nation's founding. Halloween is ... a celebration, for lack of a better word ... of monsters, superheroes and Elsa from "Frozen," maybe? I can't say I know for sure.

I don't necessarily mean that in a bad way. Halloween is easily one of my favorite holidays, but I have to believe no holiday has strayed from its origin more than this one.

Some very quick internet research tells me that Halloween used to be more of a Christian vigil celebration before All Saints' Day (also known as All Hallows Day) called All Hallow's Eve. On this night, children would go door-to-door and collect special cakes in exchange for prayers for the dead.

Along the way, some Roman and Celtic end-of-summer holiday customs were picked up, including costumes and bobbing for apples.

Hundreds and hundreds of years later, a buddy of mine dressed as the tooth fairy for no reason that would at all tie to All Hallows Day or any Celtic celebration, and we convince our kids to ask strangers for candy.

Regardless of all that, I think Halloween is one of the most fun days of the year for a lot of people. Parents enjoy dressing their young children in cute and silly costumes, kids enjoy bringing home a pillowcase full of candy and the rest of us just enjoy the utter weirdness of the whole thing.

I loved trick-or-treating as a youngster, but wasn't really into the whole costume thing, wearing the same grim reaper mask for probably six straight years. It has been a different story for the past 10 years or so, as I work to have the most interesting costume at whatever outing I go to, often shaving my beard in some messed-up way just to get a laugh out of people.

One Halloween that stands out in my mind was about five years ago when I shaved down to a moustache, bought secondhand crocodile shoes and borrowed my father-in-law's mint green leisure suit for a '70s-themed costume. It wasn't pretty, but it was somehow perfect.

However you enjoy All Hallow's Eve, make sure you're being safe. Have an idea of where your kids are and make sure they can be seen.

If you're attending a Halloween party for grown-ups, use common sense. Keep your wits about you and find a designated driver if you need it.

Happy Halloween!

Dan Determan
Staff Writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper
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