Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Why I like Halloween

Yes, I know it sounds like the title of a 3rd grade essay, but I realize it is something I have not put down yet.
As so much of the imagery, articles and general mood of my blog is Halloween oriented, it would seem to follow that I like Halloween very much.  Why is that this should be so?  What is it about Halloween that makes me love it so much?
I could say that the Fall colors appeal to me more than the simple greens of Spring or Summer.

I could say that I prefer the cool evenings to the hot, sticky nights or freezing days of Winter.

I could say that I enjoy the community spirit that trick or treating, Harvest Festivals, and parties engender.
Ahhh community....that's the spirit.
I could say that the smells of Autumn are better than any of the other seasonal smells, with the slightest hint of decay in the damp leaves, the first hints of wood smoke fires and the inevitable pumpkin pie spices.

I could say that Halloween marks the beginning of a series of holiday events that will lead us, ultimately, into and through the New Year, when the world is cold and dead and we await the new life of Spring.

I could say that on some primal level my Celtic ancestry calls me to celebrate this ending of Summer and beginning of Winter with a fire festival.

I could say that I truly enjoy the spirit of masquerade where I can dress as something else and leave my own self behind for awhile.

Ultimately it is all there.  Each of these things is a reason why I love the Autumn season in general and Halloween in particular, but the ultimate reason, the reason that trumps all others, is that during the Halloween season, what with all the masks, costumes, spooky decorations, haunted houses, corn mazes, hayrides and the Grand Guignol of monsters walking the city streets in the open, side-by-side with fairy princesses, pirates and space men, for just a little while, the world outside looks like it does inside my head all the time.

Keep those pumpkins lit.


  1. Well said, there are many of us who are kindred spirits in how we think aren't we? I didn't know for along time other people "thought" like me and I kept my weirdness to myself. Since 2000, with the help of the internet, I found a community, for a lack of a better word, that accepts me and enjoys talking year round about everything you mentioned in your post. I will be off my computer until Halloween day, you and yours have a very good weekend and I will check back in Monday!

  2. I have pondered why it is that Autumn, October, and Halloween are my favorite time of year, but I really have no idea.

    Something about the darkness is attractive, the morbidity, the subversiveness, the surrealism, the eroticism of Halloween, between the glut of summer and the lean winter. When the sun itself wanes, and all of nature seems to be falling to decay, and yet we are fat with harvest.

    Perhaps the symbols are simply more evocative. Christmas can be so austere, with it's themes of sacrifice, sin, and redemption. Halloween is full of scowling black cats, cackling witches, and leering jack o' lanterns, symbols of menace, tinged with humor and light. Halloween is where we go to heal the traumas. Like a good horror movie, we confront that which we least wish to see, that which we fear the most.

    I still can't say where my love of Halloween comes from, though I can identify an exact moment. When I was very small, 4 or 5, I came home from pre-school one Halloween afternoon, and my father had decorated the living room, filled the chairs with 2-headed mutants and monsters. Stuffed shirts and rubber masks. Why, I use one of those masks as my own profile picture today.

    From that year hence, my house haunting activities grew more and more elaborate. I think my father slightly regretted igniting that fuse, actually, ha ha.

  3. I don't think of Christmas as an austere time. I treat it as the tree worshipping fun time it is, but that's me. (Stay tuned for Jul Pumpkin in the coming months...more later). Still, it is a time of evocative imagery, this Summer's End season. Perhaps the thing that makes it so wonderful is the horrific and the fun sit side by side during this season. Unlike all the other festivals I can think of, this is the time of the year for the sugar skulls in Mexico, when the we can celebrate not DEATH but the DEAD, as in, the DEPARTED, and the whole thing becomes a wonderful party atmosphere, which is so much better than weeping and gnashing of teeth. And of course who doesn't like the spooky?