“Why Do We Do Halloween?”

He stands with his chin on the kitchen counter watching a face slowly appear on a pumpkin.


“Why do we do Halloween?” he asks.

So many ways to answer. I need to buy time.

“Why do you think we do Halloween?”

He closes one eye, aims the other one at the ceiling, and draws his mouth into a knot at one side.


He smiles wide, knowing that “Jesus” is the answer so many adults are looking for when they ask kids tough questions. I chuckle and chisel another patch of orange from our pumpkin. It falls to the counter next to his brown fingers drumming impatiently.

I skip the legends about why Halloween started in the first place. That’s not what he’s asking. The “why do we” in his seven year-old head has nothing to do with the “why did they” that captivates so many adults.

“It’s just fun to dress up as silly things and walk around our neighborhood with a big bunch of friends. Everybody shares their candy with you and-”

“Some people look scary,” he interrupts.

“Does that scare you?” I ask.

“No,” he stands tall with hands on his hips to – obviously – provide incontrovertible proof of his bravery.

“Why not?” I ask.

By now our pumpkin wears a scheming toothy grin. I sketch the eyes on with a pen. He pokes at the slivers of orange piled on the counter, thinking hard.

“Because God is with me,” he says.

And, what do you know? Jesus actually is the answer. And also free candy.

[From left to right: Gabriella’s barfing pumpkin (13 yr), Gresham’s lunch lady pumpkin (12 yr), Penelope’s grossed out pumpkin (9 yr), my laughing pumpkin with Sambhaji’s help (7yr)]