Why Halloween Is a Lawyer Holiday; Some Think Attorneys Are Even More To Be Feared Than Vampires
How Halloween Differs From Other Holidays
WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 28, 2022) – Here’s why Halloween is so very different from other major holidays, and in many ways a kind of celebration of lawyers and what they do, quips public interest law professor John Banzhaf.
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Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa all involve the giving of gifts to loved ones, and stress peace on Earth. Easter celebrates the rebirth of Spring, and playful childish fantasies about rabbits and chickens and jelly beans.
And Thanksgiving reminds us how wonderful it is that two different races and cultures can nevertheless cooperate and celebrate together.
But in sharp and dramatic contrast, Halloween venerates if not worships the dead and the undead: Witches symbolized by ancient crones who eat children, Zombies who rise from moldering graves to feast on all of us, and especially Vampires who seduce us and suck out our blood while keeping us alive as long as possible in order to keep satisfying their greed.
But some would argue that this description of vampires applies equally well or even better to many in the legal profession.
In support, critics cite the fictional inheritance case of Jarndyce v Jarndyce in Dickens’ Bleak House in which the lawyers were able to drag on for so long and for so many generations that the attorneys all bled the estate dry, leaving no money for anyone else.
On Halloween night, children dress up in all manner of ghoulish disguises and go to homes demanding “TRICK OR TREAT.”
In other words, we begin teaching them at an early age to use deceit, deception, trickery, and cunning, as well as threats, fear, coercion, and extortion, to take from us what they want.
Yes, that’s how, some might say, we teach our children at an early age how to act just like many lawyers who use threatening and often misleading lawyers’ demand letters, and threats of terrible nonexistent law suits, to extract money from their helpless victims.
A Holiday Honoring Lawyers
Perhaps that’s why Halloween is at heart a holiday honoring lawyers, and why it was traditionally celebrated most prominently in Washington, D.C., which some say has almost more lawyers than people.
And it is why the streets of Georgetown – but not to the same extent Times Square or Bourbon Street or Haight-Ashbury or the Loop – have always been filled with people celebrating this holiday which honors everything we fear or loath or find revolting, and in many ways also incomprehensible or unbelievable, and thus probably lawyers.
By the way, the AboveTheLaw website once suggested: “Isn’t just being a lawyer scary enough?”
And, probably without noting the irony, another lawyer website suggested: “criminal defense and personal injury lawyers alike can remind Halloween party hosts about local social host laws, which could make the host liable if a partygoer is injured at the party or if a partygoer is involved in a drunk driving incident after leaving the party.”
Another attorney website – in a posting entitled “How Lawyers Can Use Halloween to Get New Business,” sees another source of income for lawyers at Halloween.
“Egging property, toilet papering homes, and other tried and true childhood pranks might seem like old-fashioned fun, but they can easily turn into crimes that land kids in juvenile court” – or, it might suggest, lawyers can be hired to seek damages, and those who celebrated Halloween in this traditional fashion will then have to hire other lawyers to defend themselves.
In the same spirit of capitalizing on a holiday to make more money, an article entitled “Top 10 Halloween Marketing Ideas for Law Firms” reminds everyone that “so many law firms miss opportunities to capitalize on current events. The public views lawyers with mistrust. Dressing in costume, posting on social media about Halloween and other holidays humanizes us.”
Another lawyer called Halloween “The Scariest Night of the Year For Personal Injury Attorneys.”
And turning the tables, the “Voice of Washington’s Legal Community” posted an article entitled “How to Terrify a Lawyer for Halloween.”