Jay Firestone guest blogs a Jewish Halloween treatise:
Why donât observant Jews trick-or-treat?
This question has plagued me for some time now. Growing up with observant relatives and having attended a religious day school, Iâve always wondered what’s so bad about trick-or-treating?
Thereâs the obvious response: Itâs a pagan holiday, full of pagan rituals. I understand - celebrating Halloween conflicts with respecting the Jewish faith. But trick-or-treating isnât really paganism and it doesnât really conflict with Judaism…
It’s free candy!
I get free candy from the Gabbais at shul, so why canât I get free candy from my neighbors??
I know the observant are thinking, ‘maybe with all this candy going around, I’m bound to end up with a juicy, tasty, treif bar—-and everybody knows that non-kosher candy bars are the gateway treif to more non-kosher consumption. From then on, itâs a downward spiral into a secular lifestyle.’
Iâm ok with that argument. Except for the fact that Jews live in Jewish communities with Jewish neighbors. If a kosher Jew is looking for kosher candy, he neednât go far to satisfy those urges. In fact all you really have to do is check the doorposts of their homes for dripping lamb-blood, or its modern counterpart, the mezuzah â both usually a good indicator of kosher candy (and probably a good indicator that the candy will be “miniature” instead of “king size” but nobodyâs perfect).
So if you plan on staying home this Halloween, remember: itâs your kids that are suffering. And havenât Jews suffered long enough?