“Bah humbug” is not just for Christmas


We are being given the gift of both death and life right now.

One has a joyfully discussed expected date range, the other a hushed probable date range.  One has apps galore that show the size of a growing life, the other is of discrete loving emails that share the fading of a strong body.  Talking about one is not only expected, it is encouraged.  Talking about the other is not expected, and perhaps even frowned upon.

Which makes today – the Festival of Halloween – a little odd.

I think it is as much connected to death as Mother’s Day, Stoptober, Christmas, Valentine’s Day.  I think it is just another retail-driven occasion.  An opportunity to sell sell sell (and to buy buy buy!).  It is of costumes and face-paint and parties.  Of food and drink and selfies.

And money.

As for life and death?  They are private when the happening happens.  The birth will be between a mother, father and midwife.  The death will be between two people saying something or nothing that needs any saying.  No money.  No costumes.  No hullaballoo.  We enter the world privately and we leave the world privately.

Which makes today nothing to do with birth or death.  Today is a public, excitable, noisy affair.

We have grandchildren.  They love the costumes, they are excited about the “trick or treating”, they want to knock on strangers’ front doors and be given “goodies” (and who wouldn’t?).  And for a very short hour or two they will forget their “’ablets” and smart games.  And mum or dad will nod and smile at strangers behind doors not usually opened.  Families will be out and about when usually they would be tucked up inside.

It is a celebration of living.  It is a celebration of family and of community.

Because I remember “pre”-grandchildren” when their “pre”-mum and dad would switch out all the lights and pretend to be out each Halloween.  When answering the excited knocks at their door was just too tedious – all these “kids” (brainwashed by good marketing) interrupted their evening too much – and anyway it was simply teaching greed in the worst possible way – and what about devil worship that underpinned it all?  And we look at them now … “post children” … What a change!

We are being given the gift of both death and life right now.

And tonight we have the gift of living with every squeal of delight, with every knock at the door, with every painted face and costumed child, with every selfie!

Don’t bah humbug it all, please.

Because I know two people who would love to have enough living left to join in.