Hallowe’en versus Christmas
Two months from now, I will be on vacation in Calgary. I will be taking the B-Man, which is the nickname I have given to my five-year-old son. Our time away will extend from late October until Remembrance Day.
B-Man’s mother was shocked when I told her about my intended travel plans. “You’re going to be away on Hallowe’en,” she lamented.
I replied that yes, we would be away on Hallowe’en but that I didn’t think this would be a big deal to her. After all, just last year, she was generous enough to let her son spend Christmas Day with me in Alberta.
“Are you saying you like Hallowe’en more than Christmas?” I asked.
At first, she didn’t want to reply. That’s because you’re not supposed to like Hallowe’en more than Christmas. Christmas is about families and turkey dinners and decorating trees and Midnight Mass and good tidings of comfort and joy. Hallowe’en is about goblins and graveyards and ghosts and watching horror movies.
But then, she came right out and said that she did like Hallowe’en more than Christmas. She wasn’t going to ask me to cancel my travel plans just so our son could go trick-or-treating in Glengarry, though it was obvious she was disappointed.
There was silence as she thought about why she liked Hallowe’en more than Christmas. Then she realized that she like Hallowe’en more than Christmas. It’s just that Christmas is more flexible.
She reminded me that last year, we did our gift exchange in mid-December in order to accommodate my travel plans. She also pointed out that we are not the only people out there who didn’t celebrate on Dec. 25. She’s right. Haven’t all of us celebrated Christmas or Thanksgiving or any family holiday a little earlier or a little later than the actual day? Of course we have. We all have busy lives. We are all divided by schedules and geography and responsibility that makes it necessary to adjust our calendars.
But we can’t do that with Hallowe’en. If Christmas is a blob of play-doh that can be shaped into whatever we want, Hallowe’en is an iron bar that cannot be altered. Every year it falls on Oct. 31, like it or not, and you cannot celebrate it early or late.
And there’s a good reason for it too. It’s because Christmas is celebrated with family. Hallowe’en is celebrated with complete strangers. Seriously, when you go trick-or-treating, chances are you don’t know most of the people at the houses you visit. My kid likely won’t know anyone when he goes trick-ortreating in Calgary, but I’m sure he’ll have as much fun doing it as I’ll have dealing with the subsequent sugar rush.
Birthdays are also flexible. Sometimes you can celebrate on the actual day and sometimes you’ll do so earlier or later. However, being a weekly newspaper, can only come out on your birthday if it happens to fall on a Wednesday.
By an amazing coincidence, today, Aug. 29, is the birthday of B-Man’s mom. So allow me to use my column to wish her a day of happiness.