What the Samhain?


It’s just another day, a pagan holiday. It is Halloween in Jersey City. The costumed are out already, hurrying across Exchange Place, gerbil scrambling through the turnstile.  A lanky business man squeezes by, self-conscious in frilly house coat and wig, swinging his black Tumi bag ahead of him. The Metro newspaper guy wears a bedspread, which he has wrapped around his middle, homeless style. I am not sure if this is a costume or just a reflection of the cold October breeze off the river.

My fifth-grader has me lug his costume in for him. This year, instead of his usual black Goth attire, Izzy has opted to make a political statement by dressing up as Vice President Dick Cheney — an Evil Elmer Fudd outfitted in hunting gear, replete with dead hunting buddy slung over his shoulder, and a bloody t-shirt slogan noting that he is not hunting deer, but rather dear friends.

Here is one instance where I think our investment in private progressive school is paying off.

In fact, on the Path train ride under the Hudson River, a woman seated next to my little boy turns to him and with wide grinning approval hands him a Susan B. Anthony dollar. “It’s a dollar, ” she explains (understanding that a 10-year old has no notion of the old suffragette nor the under-used coin bearing her likeness). “I won’t be there to see you in your costume, but I think it is very clever of you.”

Today he’ll suit up in his Evil Cheney outfit at school, and enter his costume into the annual contest in both ‘funniest’ and ‘political’ categories.  Tonight, he’ll take it to the streets of his Upper Westside hood, and let his freak flag fly. What the Samhain?

 You gotta love Halloween.

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