My children (and I imagine yours, too) make some of their most insightful, interesting, revealing, or funny comments in the car while we’re driving. Driving is a good time for thoughtfulness and inspiration as we roll along and talk or just look out at the world going by. I spent a lot of time on long car trips when I was young. I can clearly recall the feeling of peacefulness that came with quietly thinking while staring out the windows. It’s much more comfortable than sitting in one place and thinking your thoughts, isn’t it? Something about the constant movement makes solitary reflection flow easily.

Today as we were driving, Young Son wanted to tell us his favorite part of Halloween. “What I like best about Halloween,” he said, “is that everyone gives away candy for free, and you don’t have to pay any money for it.”

candy spread out on the tablelast year’s (free) booty

We all agreed heartily, and even as we said so, it sunk in further how right he is. Halloween may be the most givingest holiday we have in the U.S.A., seriously. Candy is handed out to our friends children, our neighbors, and complete strangers all the same. And people who give out treats on Halloween expect virtually nothing in return, maybe just a thank you. I love being the one to stay home and greet the trick-or-treaters in their funny, scary, and cute costumes. And I miss it when we live somewhere that doesn’t get any trick-or-treat traffic.

Is there any other cultural tradition that compares when it comes to the spirit of altruism?