Why We Open Our Doors on Halloween (Even If We Can’t This Year)
Our Halloween traditions hearken back to rituals of dispelling threats through communal acts of giving and receiving.
We remember you.
Every evening, someone else would visit. Our next-door neighbors, both medical professionals in their seventies, brought us homemade muffins. They baby-sit their five-year-old granddaughter every afternoon, and offered to watch our kids sometime, too. It was wonderfully kind and also disorienting. We were invited to birthdays and barbecues.
In June, we planted a pumpkin patch on the front lawn so we could grow and give away the pumpkins to neighborhood kids. I fantasized about throwing open our front door, finally, gladly, light spilling down the steps, welcoming everyone I had closed my door to before.
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“I imagined that spending so much time with a dead thing might make death more understandable.”
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It’s very calming, very methodical, very good if, say, someone you love has died, but you know the world cannot stop, and you can’t either.
And then there is the date that we don’t yet know. The last date—a meaningless number on a calendar until it isn’t.