Why I Choose Not to Celebrate Halloween

 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…


6 thoughts on “Why I Choose Not to Celebrate Halloween

  1. Geez Beihl, and they call ME a curmudgeon.
    Though I have to admit, the disasters in your past give you ample cause to be bitter this time of year.
    I invite you then, to join us (in spirit anyway) in celebrating Samhain. This is the Celtic New Year. This day is the day that the veil between worlds is thinnest, and therefore a good day to communicate with those who have passed. Maybe talk to that great love who took his own life, and take him to task for the anger he bequeathed to you.
    Any partying is based on the fall harvest ("Samhain" is pronounced 'sow-en' the end of what you sow, or, the end of the harvest.) This is a time of hard squash, apples and pears, spiced flavored cooking, and cured meats for the non-vegetarian set, and dry, 'earth tone' decorations like colorful leaves and dry corn stalks.
    We are celebrating, sedately, our ancestors and a hopefully successful harvest. This is done either with a feast, or just a simple meal of whatever fall flavors you enjoy most, and meditating on who we've lost in the past years. And if you want to do that in a dark house with the blinds drawn and keeping the mini-Twix bars or what have you, to yourself, you are welcome to do so.
    I am looking forward to apple cider, acorn squash cooked with butter and brown sugar, ham, and later, a dark red wine. I raise a glass for Grandma Betty and your lost love.

  2. poor edna. that story makes me really worried about the future of humans every time i hear it.

    i don't trick or treat either. the potential g.o.p. ticket is enough of a scare for this duck.

  3. Thanks Mark – I almost mentioned Samhain in the post, but decided I'd get too off track.

    Duck – Edna came into my life as a mystery, and left the same way. Nothing was ever found of her except for one old dog-tag that fell off her collar. I keep it in a box as if it were her ashes next to a matching one that has my old dog, Buddy's ashes in it. BTW – Grandma Betty is still in my shoe closet. I need to plant her before the ground freezes.

  4. In that vein as we shed our holiday pain for all to see, if ONE more sanctimonious hypocritical Christian says "What do you mean you don't celebrate Christmas, what about your son, he misses out on all of that" (meaning the corporate greed orgy of "Christmas Shopping") I swear by the Goddess's great golden tits, that I shall punch them square in the face!
    Here's a hint you religious MORON's CHRIST-mass is a CHRISTIAN holy-day (to break things down to their meaning, the holy day for Christ celebrated with a mass in his honor.) I am NOT a Christian, nor am I Islamic, so no, I don't replace it with Ramadan, I am not Jewish so not Hanukkah either. I celebrate the ancient Celtic holiday Yule. No that is not just another word for Christmas, the word itself dates from pre-Christian Germany, actually. It is the Solstice, the shortest day of the year. We celebrate it to welcome, and beg the return of, longer days of sunlight. It's date was used (more or less) by the Christians for the birth of their god to lure pagans in to be converted in a "see we are just like you" way. It's where you get your Christmas Tree, feast, holly, ivy and all the other Currier and Ives trappings of the holiday. (holly berries represent the menstrual blood of the Goddess while the ivy's white berries the semen of the God. Enjoy your sex object hanging as holiday cheer over your kids….) I agree with Gandhi, great guy, this Jesus, but I cannot stand his followers.

    OK Bill, I'm off my soap box now, my sympathies for the losses you've had over the holiday seasons of your past. Heal well.

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