There’s been more than enough depressing or anger-inducing news over the past few days. Hey, gang… it’s Halloween! Surely even American politics can’t ruin that, can it? (Okay… I felt pretty silly as soon as I typed that last bit, but I’m going to buck up and pretend that it’s true.) My days of going to Halloween parties and dressing up in silly costumes are behind me, I’m afraid. These days I just play the role of the grumpy old man being forced to hand out candy to kids who have done nothing to deserve it while watching to make sure they don’t get on my lawn. But it may come as a surprise to learn that I’m not here today to dump all over your parade if you are celebrating tonight. In fact, I still think Halloween is a fine tradition if you take it in the, er… spirit intended and don’t go all Satan Worship on us.

For the record, I wasn’t always a curmudgeon about this stuff. As a kid I used to go trick or treating with the rest of the relatives and neighbors and eat candy until I became physically ill. Even as a young adult I would venture out to parties and even spring for a costume. Of course, by that time the candy corn and marshmallow pumpkins had been replaced with cheese steaks and alcoholic beverages, but it was all in good fun.

Anyway, if you’re heading out to brave the night and are in need of some trivia appropriate to the day, Time Magazine put out some for you.

Historians say Halloween, celebrated every year on Oct. 31, is linked to the old Celtic festival Samhain, which marked the end of the harvest season and the start of winter. People began dressing in costumes to disguise themselves from spirits, whom they believed came back to life to kill their crops. They also went door to door to ask for food and “soul cakes” to offer the ghouls in exchange for mercy.

There’s also a brief accompanying video report to kill some time while you wait for the sun to fully go down.

There. I hope you were pleasantly surprised. You probably expected me to dump all over Halloween and decry it as a waste of time and money which celebrates decided questionable values. Oh, it’s all of that to be sure. But you still may as well allow yourself one school night to go out and have a good, silly time. Be safe out there.

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