There’s a memorable Halloween night scene in the book To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. The story’s protagonist, 6-year old Scout is walking home after dark from a Halloween school program. Scout is still wearing her clumsy chicken wire and paper costume from the program in which children represent different agricultural products: she’s dressed as a cured ham.
It’s like some sort of phantom holiday that we all know exists and yet seems to dwell in some other holiday dimension. It’s printed on calendars, yet no one gets off work for it. The mail’s delivered. Banks are open. Schools don’t shut down on Halloween, though some teachers trying to deal with kids on a frantic sugary candy high probably wish it was otherwise.