It’s one of my favorite holidays. Easily ranks in the top three. Halloween and Thanksgiving still vie for the Number Two spot just behind Christmas, mostly because I’m a gluttonous bastard.
Just like Christmas, Halloween reaches deep into the wonderment of childhood, to a time when magic was real, nighttime was scary, and monsters were the things we dreaded most. We were given free license to dress up, hide behind masks, indulge in the darker aspects of life and being. It was different… a change in the average life. A welcome interruption to normalcy.
Then we grew up. We learned that magic was make-believe, night was when you recovered from the day, and the things we dreaded most usually arrived in your mailbox once a month. We adopted our uniforms of the workplace, church, and the living room… which were openly and savagely enforced. We were encouraged to shun the darker aspects as they either lead to crime, immorality, or a breach of the social norms that lead to ostracism and sometimes persecution. Interruptions to normalcy were never welcome.
Thus Halloween calls to us from that misty moonlit evening. That boy in the cheap-ass plastic G.I.Joe mask is still clutching his pumpkin pail full of candy bars. That girl in the black pointy hat and bright green tutu is still watching out the front window, waiting for it to be dark enough to go trick-or-treating. They’re still kids. They still believe in magic and monsters. And it’s not their fault that we’ve locked them away inside our veneer of maturity.
Thus while many religious extremists eschew the perceived evil of the holiday, and many mainstreamers bemoan the sexualization and commercialization of the Halloween… I sit in the window waiting for it to get dark enough to go trick-or-treating. I have a five-year-old watching alongside me, now. And on Halloween night, we’re basically operating on the same level. We’re both bored with normal.
Come November, we return to the uniforms of the workplace and of living space. We shrink away from superstition and imagination.
Unless, of course, we welcome more interruptions to normalcy.