Halloween was my favorite holiday as a child. I was never thrilled by Thanksgiving or Christmas. I would even venture to say that I dislike them. As you should have read already, I grew up in an atheist family in the South, which is not the ideal place for atheists. Atheism had already isolated my family from my extended family, creating my hatred of Thanksgiving and its emphasis on family. The all-consuming Christianity of the South made me feel that Christmas was not "my" holiday, even if my family did celebrate it.
But Halloween...that belonged to me as much as it belonged to anyone else! Even better (though it reveals some of my worst childhood personality traits), I was glad to see some Christians feel alienated from a holiday. It seemed fair to me, in a way.
I last celebrated Halloween when I was 21, which was 6 years ago. It wasn't a Jewish choice at first. The first year, I happened to be in India for a conference on Halloween, and then I was teaching English in France. Being abroad two years in a row, Halloween naturally fell by the wayside. During that time, I continued growing in my Judaism, but I don't think that I left Halloween for it.
The Halloweens I knew were selfish and focused entirely on the physical. As a child, I was a candy glutton. In college, it was about being sexy and drinking too much. Once I stepped away from Halloween, I gained the distance to see it for what it was and what my motivations had been. I also like to think I matured a little in that time.
And that's why I lost interest in Halloween. Was it a Jewish choice? Yes and no, I think. I think the mindfulness that Judaism requires gave me the mental and emotional skills to analyze my actions and emotions.
It also helps that now I have plenty of holidays instead of the (only) three enjoyable holidays of my childhood: Halloween, New Year's, and the Fourth of July.
Today, Halloween doesn't even rank on my radar. On the other hand, I don't think it's some demonic terribleness. I just recognize it for what it is, and that usually isn't enough to outrank even a quiet night with a good book. Honestly, I would rather stay inside than have my eyes subjected to "sexy bellydancers," "sexy skunks" (yes, the "stinkin' cute skunk"), and "sexy schoolgirls." The streets simply are not safe. But I would not turn down an opportunity to watch Halloweentown on the Family Channel!
That's my relationship with Halloween. What's yours?