I just read an article about how Halloween shouldn’t be about death and as parents we shouldn’t propagate the culture of skeletons and ghosts surrounding the holiday. I’m not going to link it. I don’t want to expand the author of said article’s readership.
Are you (the author) Effing kidding me?
It’s All Hallows’ Eve. It’s not Elmo’s Candy Begging Day.
I can understand the grounds these overly religious types stand on when they ask to take Santa out of Christmas. I don’t agree with their stance, but at least I can see why someone is upset that new traditions are displacing their god. But All Hollow’s Eve has been a tradition in all Christian lands since, well, since before they were Christian. If they didn’t like the holiday, they shouldn’t have co-opted it. So they technically co-opted the next day – All Hallows or All Saints Day, still the traditions of the night go back, way back.
This is a blog and not an encyclopedic entry so I’m not going to define every term and cite my sources. I’m right because I’m smart.
The tradition is that we dress up as evil spirits of one sort or another, be it a ghost, a witch or whatever, in order to fool the actual evil spirits that about in the mortal world that night. Apparently on that night the veil separating the mortal world from the spirit world is at its thinnest.
This isn’t some devolution of morality here. This is the age-old tradition.
Some people can’t seem to distinguish between death and killing. Halloween is not about killing. It is, to some degree, about death. Not the final act of death but the state of being that is death. The dude on the pale horse is not an uncommon appearance on that night, so it’s a little bit about him too.
No one wants to desensitize their children to killing and dying. This is neither the goal nor the result of Halloween.
Halloween is about teaching the young to face their fears. It’s telling them to confront their demons. Rather than hide indoors when evil is afoot, go out and have a good time right under evil’s sneering nose. But wear a costume so as to be a little less obvious about not being one of the actual evil demons or spirits. There’s not letting evil spirits force you to cower in your home and there’s being stupid about it. You don’t want to go out and shout “I’m one of the joyous living.” You want to go out and be one of the joyous living while pretending to be one of the spiteful dead.
I can kinda side with the traditionalists who take offense at all the little Elmo’s running around on Halloween. But honestly, in my neighborhood at least, the Sesame Street costumes and the sugar rushed blurs of youth that inhabit them are usually back inside their homes by the time the sun has set. The after dark hours are more filled with the traditional zombies and ghosts and witches and ninjas and pirates.
Wait, ninja’s and pirates?
What the hell, they’re scary too. Well, I’d be scared to be face to face with either. Ninjas are just as scary and just as real as walking skeletons. And Pirates have never been so fun as Disney would have us believe, though they’ve rarely been as bloodthirsty as the movies make them out to have been either. Still, I’d rather live to my dying day without ever having met a zombie or a pirate. Is that self-fulfilling? If you met a zombie or pirate wouldn’t that likely be your dying day…well at least the zombie…Pirates just hold you for ransom these days.
This Halloween I look forward to the ghouls at my door begging for candy and threatening comeuppance if I don’t react with generosity. My kids will be dressed as the wannabe evil Dr. Horrible, the evilly self centered hero Captain Hammer and the most dreadful of all the maybe mythical creatures – a unicorn.
Their costumes shall pale in comparison the evil I shall disguise myself as – A mime.
And my wife shall be the most evil of all. Due to the totally evil and graphic nature of her costume, I can’t even mention what she will be for fear of offending someone.
Go out on Halloween, dress up, and pretend to act evil, have fun. Make sure your kids do the same. And wish me a happy birthday.