We had this perfectly good tradition of trick-or-treating in the hallway in my department. Colleagues would put out those mini chocolate bars or bags of Skittles, and we would wander up and down getting a sugar high, so that students in one afternoon class commented that they had just come from a Shakespeare class with Professor Hobbit and he had been bouncing off the walls, he had such a buzz. Then some wanker brought a cheese plate one year, and someone made comment about more “adult” treats, and now it is wall-to-wall brie and olives, and you really have to struggle to get one measly coffee crisp.
I make a minor effort in the costume department, since I have a nice big pair of fairy wings, and a dress they match. This year, by happy coincidence, I got to teach Spencer’s Fairy Queen twice this morning, so students were puzzled about whether I was dressed for the poem or the day.
I had to teach this evening, which meant I didn’t get to go trick-or-treating with StepLadder, and she had to go with Feckless, who normally has the “stay home and give out candy” duty. He wasn’t really looking forward to it (i.e. bitching and whining about having to do it), but when I got home from class, I heard the tale of his pleasant surprise about how delightfully polite she had been.
I am trying to get over feeling sad about not being able to go. StepLadder and I have developed a number of Halloween traditions, many of which involve the planning and making of her costume. Rare domestic moment – look how cute my spawn is as a swan (swan spawn!) – a costume she designed herself; she made the beak, and I made the other parts:
As a semi-practicing witch, I have religious traditions I try to maintain with her too, but I find that the secular/material aspects of what North Americans are pleased to call “holidays” interfere with trying to make an event spiritually meaningful. Christmas is easier because the solstice is not on December 25th, but Samhain and Halloween fall on the same day. I normally can’t get my head to encompass cognitive dissonance between the collection of sugar and the ritual remembrance of the dead, so I usually make what religious observance I feel moved to on the full moon following October 31st. I am sure purists would be disapproving, but my witchcraft has always been of the practical sort.
This year I am more haunted by ghosts, and not nearly full enough of sugar, and so perhaps I will light a candle for the dearly departed who are on my mind tonight: as always on this eve, Virginia Woolf; my Aunt Susie, Stryder, Raphael, and the two nameless ones.