The commercialization of Christmas has rightly bothered many Christians, but my take on the commercialization of Halloween is more benign. The past few decades have seen an extraordinary explosion of Halloween kitsch, usually of the cheapest plastic employing the crudest designs. No better statement about corporate America’s soulless lust to sell at any cost could possibly be imagined. The only thing they haven’t figured out how to make a lot of bucks on is Thanksgiving. Consequently, when I went into a store yesterday to buy candy for Saturday’s little visitors, I noticed the Christmas stuff was already taking over an aisle.

But in many ways I think we come out ahead. First, it gets progressively harder for those-who-must-not-be-named to demonize the day. Imbecilities like warnings that Halloween candy is demonic will get the derision they deserve.  Too many people are having fun with it. Hopefully, in some cases this leads to a better attitude towards death as a necessary and inescapable part of life. One of the central contradictions in modern American monotheism is a widespread belief in heaven, a pretty widespread belief that the believer will get there, and an utter terror of dying.

Go figure.

Maybe all this attitude shift is setting the stage for the Day of the Dead to be celebrated in large numbers by Hispanic Americans, and in time other Americans. I hope so, for it seems a celebration that would harmonize with our own Sabbat in many beautiful ways. Certainly my altar will have a load of marigolds on it this weekend.

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