As soon as the single Simchat Torah flag and all the Sukkot decorations were put away, out came the Hallowe’en crap. I have three ginormous plastic bins in the attic full of witch hats, pumpkin lights, teeny mummies on strings, table runners, spooky candles, and wee skull candy-holders. For starters. The black plastic cauldrons and home-made bouncey bats (toilet paper rolls, cereal box cardboard, and google eyes: classic) couldn’t fit, so they spilled over into the shed. We love Hallowe’en at my house. This year, though, there is a bit of a snag. It’s on Shabbat. Shabbos. The Sabbath.
Usually, the big Jewish-American calendrical conflict concerns the December Dilemma: Hanukkah vs. Christmas. Or, perhaps the odd conflict with Passover (a school field trip to, say, McDonalds). But this year a decidedly pagan holiday falls on a decidedly sacred day: Shabbat. What’s a balabusta to do?
I’ll tell you. I’m going to do what I have to do. I’m going to fix a festive Shabbos meal (homemade challah and the usual), eat it, light the Shabbos candles, and move on out for some serious trick or treating. We’ll be walking, not driving, so at least that’s one rule not broken. But to celebrate Hallowe’en and Shabbat simultaneously is a total compromise. Sacred and Profane. No getting around THAT.
To make things even more complicated, let me mention that the toddler is going out dressed as Dracula. He can’t even say Dracula. It comes out “Dracka.” Don’t even get me started on the antisemitic associations, histories, resonances with vampirism. But it is amazing what one can put aside in order to let one’s kid experience the fleeting but constitutive pleasure of Hallowe’en to the fullest. I mean, if I really wanted to dilute the contrast here…to partially assuage my guilt…I’d have the kid tricked out as Hillel or Maimonides. Or even King Ahasuerus as a Purim preview. But no. I am going whole hog on this one. Dracka it is.