My daughter, who is a busy executive, is spending a lot of time agonizing over our one-year-old grandson’s Halloween costume. I have a thirty-something friend who is planning to propose to his long-time girlfriend. But, apparently, kneeling and flowers just don’t cut it anymore. This time of year, as I do errands around our village, I see signs everywhere (literally “signs”) asking girls and boys to Homecoming dances.

These personal rituals have become public competitions, getting more and more elaborate each year. And, of course, marketers (of which, I must admit, I am one) are jumping on these bandwagons and offering expensive ways to out-do your neighbors.

Of course, I think creativity is to be cherished and supported. But, involving dozens of people and buying expensive outfits doesn’t really change the final event. Let’s not forget that the event itself is the most important part of the ritual. Holding your child’s hand as he goes from house to house, pledging to spend your life together, dancing in the school gym – these things are the whole point. These moments make up so many of our memories. Let’s not lose track of the goal.