Call me self indulgent or neurotic, but I choose not to observe Halloween. There are plenty of things in this world to frighten a person half to death, so why celebrate it? Best as I can tell paraphrasing from Wikipedia, after the British Isles were “converted” from paganism, Christians imported the holiday from the Irish because Catholicism wasn’t already sick enough.
I got the heads-up from cheerful neighbors the other day letting me know what time the little goblins will be arriving in our part of the neighborhood to shake-us-down for candy and treats. Good. Now I know when to darken the windows, pull the drapes and ignore the doorbell.
Halloween has very bad associations for me, not that I ever liked it – even as a child.
Everyone gets one great love in life, and the last time I saw mine alive was on a Halloween night many decades ago. We danced at a party and made love that night before I had to leave town on business. I associated the holiday with that loss ever since. My lover took his life 3 days after Halloween while I was in Toronto installing my artwork in a gallery. Over the years people have goaded me into putting on costumes and chalking-up that loss as a sad chapter of my personal history, so slap on some lipstick and pretend to have fun because other people wanted me to. Begrudgingly I complied for a while, but I never enjoyed myself.
Four years ago on Halloween my last dog, Edna was kidnapped, tortured and killed by some strange children, who got my contact information and telephoned me so I could listen to the horror. That drove the final spike in the coffin for my Halloween celebrations. While I don’t consider myself to be superstitious, things often seem to happen in threes. If you’re still reading, then you’ve just heard two genuine bonafied Halloween horror stories, and neither were remotely thrilling. In fact the combined events neatly wiped-out Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve – not sounding an “ALL’s CLEAR” until after Valentines Day.
My own prejudices aside, Halloween appears to be the first of a string of indulgent holidays where children are taught gluttony and greed. We already live in a world obsessed with the gruesome, saying “Oh how horrible” when lives are ruined by crime or natural disasters. (Pop another mini Three Musketeers Bar in your mouth and absorb the horror with sweets.) I’ve always secretly suspected more people than we realize find other people’s misfortunes gratifying just so long as it isn’t happening to them. Horror surrounds us daily. You want to be frightened? Pay attention to the news, that’ll make your hair stand on end. Then have a Peanut Butter Cup…
Winnie and Duck spend 364 out of 365 days of the year in one sort of drag costume or another. October 31st will be our day of rest. Winnie and I will snuggle-up under the covers waiting for toy clowns to come to life under our bed while tree limbs break through the windows to grab us and drag us to Satan’s pit – taking comfort in the fact that the truly cruel holiday is yet to come: Christmas. In fact it’s already here. I heard my first Yuletide advertising well over a month ago.
Tomorrow is October 31st, and children will begin rotting their teeth on mini-Snickers Bars and throwing sugar-fits all the way to wrong date when Christ was born – pitching THE major fit when they learn Santa didn’t bring them this year’s child-sized miniature drivable sports car from the Neiman Marcus Catalog. As for me, I’m going to do my level best to ignore it all, wait it out, and pretend it isn’t happening. There is no candy being handed-out here, because chocolate-dipped lumps of coal would most likely land me in jail.
|May All Saints be with you…|