Yesterday, Everett’s daycare teacher turned his socks inside out. “Those socks have skulls on them,” she told me, “and you know it’s bad luck to put any sign of death on a baby?” Then she warned me not to take Evs trick-or-treating. Everett’s daycare teacher is one of those people whose exclusivist Christianity does not allow room for Halloween. By now, I know I should be used to the extremism of some of the Christianity here in San Diego County, but I’m not. Everett’s daycare teacher keeps lecturing me about her religious views, while I keep smiling and nodding and ignoring her. And we both love Everett, so everything is fine. I hope.
Other religions in my town are more accommodating of Halloween. The Self-Realization Fellowship or Pramahansa Yogananda (yup, that’s it’s name) — a sort of hybrid of 1920s yoga, meditation, and Christianity, as far as I can tell — carves elaborate pumpkins, hundreds of hundred-pound pumpkins, to decorate our downtown. The stores all decorate & pass out treats, crowds fill our main street, and the Self-Realization monks and nuns stage a truly lovely “Queen of Halloween” tableau.
There is calm music and lovely paintings echoing Tommie de Paolo’s The Clown of God in their peacefully staged court. The Queen of Halloween is not sexualized, not raced white, not macabre, and not passing out candy. She is perfect. She invites each child to make a wish, then rests her glowing wand on their foreheads and gives each child a small plastic ring. It feels magical. Soph likes to visit her twice.
Soph’s class sang Halloween songs. They had a pumpkin day, too, where they measured the height & circumference of pumpkins, tested its buoyancy, estimated the number of seeds in a pumpkin, then scooped out the seeds, piled them up into groups of ten, and counted by tens to check their estimates. Another perfect thing, that makes me just continue to adore Soph’s kindergarten teacher.
The best part of Halloween, though, was seeing Sophie walking with her friends.
When she ran into some friends who were walking in the opposite direction, past stores from which she had already collected candy, she simply turned around in order to walk with them. Being with friends was more interesting, to Soph, then getting more candy. So was dancing to Hullabaloo. It was a great Halloween.
We even convinced Everett to wear a costume, too.