“Halloween, Good and Bad,” Oct. 22, 2019

I have a lover’s quarrel with Halloween. There are things I like about it and things I don’t. Which, come to think of it, is also how I feel about myself and at least half the people I know.

(Note: The above statement does not apply to you. We may never have met, you and I, but if we had the pleasure, I’m sure I’d like everything about you.)

Here are a few things I like about Halloween:

1. I like candy. I’m not proud of it, but there it is. I like having an excuse to buy a monster-size sack of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, presumably to hand out to trick-or-treaters, when I know perfectly well I’m going to eat half those cups myself. I’d eat them all if my husband didn’t hog the other half.

2. I like seeing the costumes people choose to wear when they can wear anything they choose. I like to see little people, like my grandkids, pretend to be big, and big people, like my husband, pretend to be little. It’s fun. And I like fun a lot.

3. I like having neighbors and friends and people I don’t know come knocking on my door with their adorable children, all happy and excited and not trying to sell me something. That doesn’t happen very often except at Halloween. I’ll even share my husband’s half of the Peanut Butter Cups with them.

Here are a few things I don’t like about Halloween:

1. I don’t like tricks. Except the ones I played on my brothers when I was too young to know better, and on my children, when I was old enough to have better sense, but couldn’t resist. Never mind what those tricks were. I don’t like the kind of tricks that hurt people or animals or property, or make somebody clean up a mess. If you’ve ever been egged, or toilet-papered or cherry-bombed, you know what I mean.

2. I don’t like being scared. Life is scary enough without making it scarier. My older sister loved to scare people, especially me. When she was 12, she put a sheet over her head and tried to scare a neighbor boy, who in turn, tried to kill her with an axe. I saw the whole thing and pulled for the neighbor boy to catch her.

3. I don’t like having to come up with a costume. We all have our gifts, and costuming is not one of mine. No matter what I plan to wear, it’s never very clever, not to mention very comfortable. My best ever idea for a costume was one I made my brother wear when I was 10 and he was 6. I put a sheet over his head (possibly the same sheet my sister nearly got killed in) but didn’t tell him he was a ghost. Joe was totally blind. He didn’t know what a ghost looked like. We went trick-or-treating and when people said to him, “You’re a cute little ghost!,” he would shout, “I’m not a ghost, I’m a mattress!” It’s hard to beat a costume like that.

Every Halloween, I think of a story I heard years ago from a friend. She said she was hiding in her kitchen, pretending not to eavesdrop on her teenage daughter, Kim, who was talking with friends in the living room.

“I never know how to talk to boys,” confessed one of the girls. “I always say the wrong thing!”

Kim offered a solution. “Maybe you’re trying too hard,” she said. “Try to relax and just be yourself!”

Then, after a moment, while everyone thought about that girl being herself, Kim added this: “And if that doesn’t work for you, just be somebody else!”

Costumes don’t change who we are or how we talk to each other. Only we can do that. I like to be who I am: A wife, a mom, a nana, a friend. It works for me. But on Halloween, just for fun, I’ll be Nana Medusa with snakes on my head.

On Halloween and every day, we should always be ourselves and allow others to be who they are, as well. Maybe it will help us, together, as one, be the kind of people we’re meant to be.


  1. Robert Steward says

    Hi Sharon,
    My wife has got me on to reading your columns and I really enjoy them. I have a question, do you have more than one brother or is brothers a typing error?

    • Good question, Robert. That caused some confusion for several readers. Yes, I have two brothers. I often write about my brother Joe, who is blind. And I have occasionally written about my “baby” brother, Denton — the one I affectionately called “Monkey Boy” — who we lost several years ago to what was believed to be a stroke. Thanks for asking, and thanks for reading! —Sharon

  2. Kate Sciacca says

    “ I don’t like having to come up with a costume. We all have our gifts, and costuming is not one of mine. “

    AMEN! Or coming up with costumes for the kiddos…. I’m no Martha Stewart and that is NOT my gift 😂😂

    They often went as baseball players (heck, I had to pay for the uniform, might as well use it!) – or bums…. Dad’s old t-shirts from the rag bag and a little charcoal on the face 👍🏻

    As they got older it got tougher… and expensive. They discovered those “Halloween Costume” stores that sell overpriced gangster suits or vampire makeup…. I paid up and ate another Snickers… why not?

    Happy Halloween (All Hallows Eve) to you and all your little ghosts and goblins 🙂

  3. Janet Mann says

    The best Halloween I ever had was when my husband dressed as a woman and me as a man and we went to his parents house in the country and they couldn’t guess who we were. Sadly, my beloved passed away last month, so I probably won’t even welcome Halloweeners to the door except my grandkids. I always loved the little ones.

  4. I totally agree… Life is already scary enough. Whatever happened to dressing up as a cartoon character? Oh, that’s right 😉 there aren’t that many good cartoons! 😁

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