Hal­lowe’en ver­sus Christ­mas

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page - Didn’t STEVEN WAR­BUR­TON The Glen­garry News,

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.

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