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Why it matters if you skip Halloween this year

Our holidays, both religious and secular, help create the foundation of our shared Judeo-Christian culture. Like a house, culture must have a strong foundation or it will surely sink. What may seem like one more holiday pushed into existence by the candy industry is actually deeply rooted in our Western culture's experience of Judeo-Christian history and identity. So whether its Halloween or Dia de los Muertos, it matters if you make 2020 the year you skipped the holiday that celebrates the cycle of life in nature.

2020 may feel like the worst year ever recorded and that it won't matter if you skip celebrating a secular holiday, but...

Our identity is shaped by our experiences. Our shared cultural experiences help us see each other as members of the same "tribe". In this case members of the "American tribe" a culture that is very much unique but also very much a part of the Judeo-Christian Western Hemisphere.

Everyone runs the risk of feeling lost, devoid of identity, if they are unable to participate in their traditions. But this is particularly problematic for children who are still developing that identity. Human beings are social animals which means our physical, emotional, and psychological development is completely dependent on our social interactions. From the earliest of human societies, communal celebrations and traditions have aided in that development. We were not created to survive in isolation. This is particularly true of our Fall and Winter traditions.

The seasons of death (Fall & Winter) still connect us to our primordial selves and we run a high risk of depression when we isolate for too long. Denying ourselves our connection to each other through our collective identity in the form of our holidays is tantamount to cutting ourselves. Go too long without any of it and you may end up erasing your identity entirely. This may sound extreme, but for children developing their identities and their connections to their ancestors and community it can very much be this serious to go an entire year without celebrating our lives and culture through communal shared traditions. Creating a "new normal" does not help this either, in fact it may increase the speed of the identity loss by way of confusion.

So put up your spooky decorations and put out your candy. There are ways to make it a safe celebration without denying ourselves our traditions. I suggest making little bags of candy for each trick-or-treater. Seek out community events in your city or invite 5 of your closest friends for a Halloween movie watch party. Whatever way you feel is best for you there is a way to celebrate our culture and help our kids build strong positive connections to their American culture.

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