Juliet H. Mofford’s Oct. 12 column moved me (Forum: “Salem witch trials hold a powerful message for our time,” Oct. 15). Even though I’m sort of an adult white male, complete with gray facial hair, I’ve occasionally enjoyed dressing up as a “wily wee witch” on Halloween. No more. I won’t make light of human tragedy, especially since some people think I am one.

People began disguising themselves about 2,000 years ago to evade ghosts who crossed over the temporarily indistinct boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead on Samhain, the Celtic New Year. On this day of transformation between light and dark, life and death, magic was at its most powerful, making it a perfect time for divination. Celebrants offered food and drink to the ghosts to make them happy, even though strong drink would sometimes cause them to make light of human misery. Drunken ghosts. What can you do? Subsequent Roman and Catholic invasions caused Samhain’s evolution into All Hallows Eve and Halloween.

The Christian viewpoint on magic involved the devil in magical matters like Halloween, leading to the persecution of those the church deemed witches. We now find ourselves about to celebrate a holiday firmly associated with magic. Some people want to dress up as witches who also share a connection to magic. But we are wrong to do so because it makes light of the suffering of others, as do movies like “Bell, Book and Candle,” “The Witches of Eastwick” and the “Wizard of Oz,” and the TV series “Bewitched.” They are bad. Do not watch them.

So, on this upcoming holiday of magic, mystery, ghosts and other eerie stuff, please neuter the spirit of the holiday and dress as a priest, an investment banker, Mark Zuckerberg, Donald Trump or some other harmless entity, and don’t make light of anyone’s suffering. On second thought …

Ken Weston
Bath