This week I got “Booed” by a neighbor. Having moved from downtown Baltimore, I had never heard of being “Booed” until I received a knock on my door and opened it to find no one there. I looked down and saw a small bag full of candy with a note explaining to me I had been “Booed” and that before Halloween I should make my own bags of candy with a small note to give to two other unsuspecting neighbors — and make sure they don’t find out who I am. I am also supposed to put the note I received on my door so that others know that I have already been “Booed” so they can give candy to someone else.
The goal of this exercise, of course, is to make sure everyone in the neighborhood is “Booed” or given a bag of candy from a neighbor. The hope is to make sure the everyone is included and acknowledged by someone who lives near them. It helps bring us a sense of community, connectivity and comes with candy.
I can say that it is a lot more fun being the person who provides the “Boo” than receives it. It is exciting to think that someone is opening their door, seeing a bag of candy and for a moment, realizing that someone else thought of them. Also, in learning more about the “Boo,” I have learned that it can be more than candy — it can be an act of service (raking leaves for an elderly neighbor) and then you ask the recipient to do another two anonymous acts of service for someone else in your neighborhood.
Instead of being haunted by ghosts, this week leading up to Halloween has been haunted by true terrors of divisiveness and violence. The events of this week have made large parts of our greater community feel isolated and concerned for the future. However, the small gesture of one neighbor reminded me that while hate may spread, inclusivity and kindness can be spread, too.
As we focus on ways that we as young lawyers can make this world a better place it can start with something as small as a “Boo”– remembering to reach out to someone else, whether you know them or not, to make them feel included. The small, anonymous, acts of kindness go a long way in making our world a little brighter on some very dark days. So today is Halloween– who are you going to “Boo”?