Halloween is a time for tradition and family, dressing up and generally scarring the frick out of everyone you meet. It’s a time to eat crazy amounts of pumpkin and candy. A time for sugar and spice and everything nice…or is it?
In the search for the ultimate Halloween experience I found myself looking for ways to impart some basic values and the true meaning of Halloween to the little ones. This is where it got tricky. For starters, there are no real values to be passed on, which makes finding meaning about as easy as finding a cold bottle of Coke in the dessert. It’s not really a traditional anything where we live and is considered one the of the many things that are polluting our cultural air as yet another American tradition is thrust upon us by movies and television. They may have a point, I mean, it’s not like our forefathers traveled all the way here by boat with a dream in one hand and a costume in the other in the hopes that one day we too would dress up as the underworld and freak each other out.
The world has resorted to the ridiculous in an attempt to shock as the masses are now calloused to the basic decorations and costumes such as: knife through the head (boring), skin removed and all the muscle, bone and insides showing and hanging out (yawn), Scream/I Know What You Did Last Summer and other scary movie outfits (double yawn and super bore). This is the reason for insane Halloween decorations such as the one of Sarah Palin hanging from a noose. I don’t know what anyone else thinks, but it’s a bit harsh, and I don’t even like her.
Passing on something wholesome and worthwhile to the young’uns posed a bit of a challenge, but I’m not one to give up easily so I took a look at the original story of Halloween and believe it or not have found something I can pass on, something I can share with not just my babies but with you as well. Here goes:
The first thing that’s important to understand is that Halloween in itself is a fusion between 3 basic festivals or holidays and the merger of the “old religion” with the "new".
There is the Celtic celebration on the 31st which signifies the end of the “Season of the Sun” and with it the end of the harvest, and the beginning of the “Season of Darkness”, or the cold winter months. This is all Druids and dances with fires and worship, and your basic harmless pagan rituals.
Next, there is the 1st of November where the Celtics would parade around in the skins and heads of dead animals for 3 days. This is called Samhain. There’s nothing scary about that if you consider that they probably had to wear the animals to ward off the freezing cold all winter. There’s also nothing vile or truly evil about a bunch of heathens dancing around wearing animals they skinned, except perhaps in some cases the smell. It may sound a bit barbaric, but bear in mind that they were barbarians, so, is it really an issue? I think not.
The Romans of course contributed with Pomona Day which is basically a celebration of nature and food. So far, so good. But then here’s where it gets evil, the Catholics traipsed in with All Saints, All Hallows etc, and inevitably it’s at this stage that instead of just dressing up as animals and wearing food and plants in simple celebration, people started dressing up as demons and devils, go figure.
Don’t get me wrong here, I like eyeball punch and dried blood sandwiches just as much as the next guy, but what I dislike immensely is the corruption of the innocents. To think that a perfectly good celebration for harvest, and plenty, and barbaric dancing has evolved to fools hanging presidential candidates and their running mates in their front yards is just wrong. Not to mention the hoodlums, buffoons, berserkers and bandits who take this celebration as a green light to run amok and wreak havoc on the rest of us.
To sum it all up, I would say that Halloween should be just another excuse to hang out with your family and have fun without being so weird you draw attention from the netherworld and the minions of evil. I guess some folks can celebrate the end of the harvest and beginning of winter, but for me and my family, we will mourn the end of what little winter we had and the beginning of smoldering, sticky, tropical heat. Come to think of it, I don’t think there’s anything about Holloween that I can relate to, so…yeah…I guess that means it’s just another day for me to do exactly what I always do, except maybe I’ll grab one of those dried blood sandwiches – and eye ball punch – you can never have too much eye ball punch.