Of Coneheads and Peanuts
One of my favorite continuing bits from the original Saturday Night Live was The Coneheads, starring those clueless visitors from planet Remulak who, when questioned, blithely claimed to be from "France". Here's a transcript (can't find a video on-line) of one of their best skits, relevant to a celebration that some observe today.
I would not say that, growing up, I found this "paying homage to the symbolic vegetable orb" holiday quite as perplexing, repellent, or - pun intended - alien as Beldar does. To be sure, our family did not dress up or go trick-or-treating. We didn't view this Christian/Pagan event as one that we, as observant Jews, had any business celebrating. But I had classmates in my Modern Orthodox day school who did go out along with their non-Jewish friends. This was more common in those bygone days than it is in today's frum world, and the community more tolerant of it.
In any case, while we didn't actively participate in the day's rituals, my family did always have candy (not beer and fried eggs!) on hand to distribute to whatever kids came to our door - and we still do. To shut off our porch light and entirely boycott the event, as some of our co-religionists did (and sadly, still do), would have seemed extremely un-neighborly and, more importantly, un-mentchlach. I also confess that I found it rather fun each year to be in charge of giving out the treats and checking out what costumes everyone was wearing.
And of course, I never missed a showing of "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown"! The profound wisdom of Charles M. Schultz will never grow old. In fact, after reading yet another batch of endless religious squabbles on a well-known Jblog, I find myself wishing that some of us would take a deep breath, take a chill pill, and take a lesson from these quotes:
Charlie Brown: Oh brother. When are you going to stop believing in something that isn't true?And while you're at it, have some some leftover chocolate!
Linus: When YOU stop believing in that fat guy in a red suit and the white beard who goes, "Ho, ho, ho!"
Linus: I've learned there are three things you don't discuss with people: religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin.