Read on, and try not to weep:
The Bad News? The Schoolhouse Burned! The Good News? No Weapons Were Used!
Call it a character defect if you must, but I enjoy Halloween. Probably, the pleasure I take in the day simply is a reflection of the happiness it brings to children. In that case, of course, I have the privilege of having lots of reflected Halloween delight shine around me: my wife, Terri, and I have eight children. It might also be, of course, that celebrating Halloween is such an Irish-American contrarian thing to do. After all, even if all doctrinal differences could be resolved among the various communions of the Christian faith, don't you strongly suspect that too deep divisions separate those Christians who demonize the celebration of Halloween, Easter and Christmas, on one side, and those who celebrate these days for their religious significance and as welcome opportunities to spend time with family and to share in the cheer that holidays bring.
Although I enjoy Halloween, I do not like what the slasher movie crowd has done to co-opt this children's event. So, in our home, you will not find ghouls, Freddy Kruegers, demonic minions, or such other characters. You will find little pumpkins running around, and we have had Injuns (er, make that Native Americans), Arabian princesses, gypsies, and even an escaped convict in the classic black-and-white striped suit. Obviously, by guiding my children to innocent and fanciful characters, and by barring them from the macabre, I am helping them to actually experience the fact that fear is not a prerequisite to fun, and that noodling with dark images is not where the children of the light should be found.
Other lessons have also been taught as part of Halloween observations around our Nation. In Deer Lake, for example. There, the lesson is one that truly amazes. One five-year kindergartner and his mom visited a local shop where they purchased a fireman's costume for the boy to where to school on the Friday before Halloween. Little Johnnie, it seems, wanted nothing more than to emulate one of those often-heroic figures that loom large in our communities when lives, homes or businesses are endangered by fire. So the Little Fireman headed happily off to school and his mom headed in to the office for the day. Neither Johnnie nor Mom gave thought to the terrible dangers to which they were subjecting Johnnie's schoolmates and teachers that day.