Ever since Oct. 31, 1961 when Mrs. Leach on her front porch accused me of being too old to trick-or-treat, I have not been a big fan of the holiday. Maybe a 12-year-old dressed as a clown was pretty lame, but my feelings were terribly hurt, even if she may have been right.

Think about the icons that mark these holidays. Christmas has Santa and Baby Jesus. Easter has the Bunny and Resurrected Jesus. Independence Day has Washington and Jefferson. Halloween has Satan, werewolves, vampires, ghosts and a Noah’s ark of other monsters and demons.

But Marsha’s minister once said, “You do not have to be what you have become,” so I’m trying to get into the Halloween spirit. There are some things to like about Halloween. Purple is my favorite color, and Halloween has more purple than any other holiday.

Little kids love Halloween. I really like passing the candy out to the tykes. At one time it bothered me that some of these candy beggars were old enough to vote and weren’t wearing a costume, but at least they weren’t dressed like a clown. Besides, I’m no Mrs. Leach.

Oak Park Halloween is pretty cool. We get families from Austin, Berwyn and Oak Park. (I would make a snide comment about River Forest, but I’m afraid.) Oak Park Halloween is an eclectic celebration of sugar, costumes and diversity.

I suspect there is a deeper, philosophic meaning to Halloween. In a world of ALS, ISIS, rising seas, school massacres and, of course, the inevitability of our own death, Halloween is a way to perhaps confront the fear and awfulness of it all. If we can mock and even celebrate imaginary ghouls and goblins, then maybe we can try to confront the very real ones all of us face.

Although it may be too late to do anything this year, I’m thinking about answering Lily’s and Ava’s question next year: “Papa, who are you going to be for Halloween?” My answer: “Captain Hook!” I love that guy. He is the greatest villain of all time — the perfect combination of buffoonery and villainy.

So I’m back, Mrs. Leach. Arrgg.

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John Hubbuch

John is an Indiana native who moved to Oak Park in 1976. He served on the District 97 school board, coached youth sports and, more recently, retired from the law. That left him time to become a Wednesday...