When I was little, I remember noting that Halloween was a uniquely American holiday. Although I was never visiting family in Spain or Colombia at that time of the year, my cousins told me they had no experience with such a thing. That’s changed. There’s jack-o-lanterns on some storefronts here in Italy, kids out trick-or-treating, and costume parties for the adults. America has successfully exported Halloween.
This year, Halloween has uniquely American connotations for another reason. The midterm elections are less than a week away, and they frighten me. We have seen powerful voices these past couple of years coalesce around the normalization of sexual harassment (despite women’s ubiquitous and heartwrenching testimonials), the demonization of immigrants (despite record low crime and 4% unemployment across the USA), the attempted erasure of LBGQT (despite love and identity being an inalienable right), the justification of economic inequality (despite the concentration of 40% of the nation’s wealth in 1% of the population), the resistance against most efforts to change gun culture (despite there being 297 mass shootings in 2018 to date), and legislation that makes it more difficult for marginalized populations to vote (despite the rate of voter impersonation fraud already being less than 0.0025%).
I’m scared for my family and friends. I’m scared for my children. I’m scared for myself. And just like Halloween has spread beyond American borders, so have the implications of its policies. I can feel them felt everywhere as Europeans and Moroccans alike watch what the United States will do next on November 6.
So for Halloween this year, we considered bringing some American traditions to our European neighbors. We considered going door to door trick-or-treating, not as ghouls but as American voters. And decided that if we can help it, the only trick-or-treating of that sort we ought to be doing is to our own doorstep. But we did have some fun with the idea.
Below: Mock trick-or-treating in Rome. Before agreeing to the concept and taking the picture, we talked about why many people within and outside the United States might find some American voters scary.
Below: Having our portable printer means being able to vote by mail from abroad.