Well, I've got to start off my Halloween cheering with a big shout-out to the Oregon Ducks football team, who crushed fifth-ranked USC tonight in Eugene -- an hour's drive away from Church of the Churchless headquarters here in south Salem.
Next, praise for Halloween itself, a nice mostly-pagan/secular holiday, albeit with some mildly Christian overtones, which are barely recognizable beneath all those sexy costumes.
It's interesting, but not all that surprising, that so many adults (and children also) choose to express their darker, sensuous, slutty, or sinister side on Halloween.
You don't see many Compassionate Buddhist Monk or Charitable Giving Tree costumes. When given an opportunity to let their inner whatever out, wild and crazy is more likely to make an appearance than tame and sensible.
My wife and I rarely dress up on Halloween. Mostly because we usually don't venture out on this day. With my two year old granddaughter living way down in southern California, and us not being party animals, there isn't much reason to costume up.
Yesterday, though, we decided to go to a Halloween dance at the RJ Dance Studio. Costumes, the notice said, were optional. My wife said, "let's do it." She likes to shop, so it was a pleasant and rather easy task for her to put together a cool blue outfit.
After parking downtown we had to walk a few blocks to the dance studio. As we passed a hipster hangout, I couldn't help thinking that a lot of young people wouldn't look upon Laurel's get-up as a costume at all, but as normal attire.
I then accessorized with the very t-shirt that I'd been wearing normally all day, my dearly beloved Harley-Davidson "there are no rules" shirt. I capped it off with a Sportsman's Outfitter hunting cap and some blue shades to match Laurel.
Pondering what I'd say if someone asked me what I was, "Mill City meth lab operator" came to mind. (Mill City is a small nearby town; Oregon meth labs have been relocating to rural areas, but in fairness to my state's reputation, we've pioneered in reducing the available supply of meth ingredients.)
It was fun to become someone else for an evening. A guy I know quite well came to the dance and didn't recognize me. Just as with Laurel's costume, of course, mine looked a lot like how many people dress all the time.
Laurel and I danced better than usual. We felt more relaxed, having cast off our usual dressing conventions in the whatever Halloween spirit.
For two hours blue hair and mullet hair danced away, until our 60-something legs and feet got tired. We got some good tips from a more accomplished dancer on timing, rhythm, and moving to the music.
Someone left a comment on this blog today that talked about the joy of letting go in the presence in a guru. I responded that there are many ways of letting go of our usual overly self-conscious selves, dancing certainly being among them.
Putting on a Halloween costume also. Which is an outward act that reflects an inward transformation always available to us: choosing to be someone different from who we've always been.
Halloween is a reminder that we can be whoever we want, religious dogma and convention be damned. If we can do this one day of the year, why not every day?
That's the positive side of this holiday. On the negative side, seeing all the witches around recently made me recall an email I got a while back from Alex, a Unitarian in Hong Kong.
He told me about children being murdered in Nigeria because they'd been branded as witches and blamed for various catastrophes.
Who is mostly responsible? Christian pastors, not surprisingly. Another example of how horribly fundamentalists can behave in the name of their imaginary God.