The witches, ghosts, goblins, and ghouls have come and gone for the evening. They visited us in ravenous hordes, leaving us just barely enough candy for my own personal consumption. My poor children, each having lugged home a bag the size of a mature wolverine and approximate weight of an anvil on Jupiter*, are unknowingly going to be making a donation to Puddin’s Backup Snicker and Twix Collection as soon as I finish this post.
I’m teaching them about sharing, see. Just kind of on the sly.
Anyone who knows me well likely knows that as far as I’m concerned, Halloween Iz Da Shizznit. I think that means “I like it” to the kids on the street. Sadly, I’m not 100% sure about that, so I guess I should speak a little more plainly; I heart me some Halloween. It’s been my favorite holiday since I was knee-high to a grasshopper**. Now, I realize that if most kids, and adults as well, were given the choice of picking only one holiday per year, the overwhelming majority would go with Christmas, with Arbor Day running a distant second. And really, who could blame them? Everybody loves a sackful of free gifts from a jolly old dude in a red coat.
Not me, though. For me, the scariest night of the year always trumped Christmas. Don’t get me wrong. Christmas is plenty cool, and I certainly put Santa through the paces in my youth, but that’s another post. Christmas, though, is largely about moral lessons contrasted with unbridled avarice, as well as seeing if you can make it through a whole day with your distant cousins without a WWE Pay-Per-View event erupting spontaneously.
Halloween, though, is about imagination, and it’s just about the only holiday for which that’s true. On Halloween, we carve frightening faces into gourds and light them up to protect us from the spirits of the damned granted a night to walk the Earth. Most Halloween traditions are based upon conjuring up thoughts and images that scare the crap out of us. There’s no single entity assigned as the focus of our dread, instead we concoct frightening images of witches, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, vampires, IRS agents, and High School chemistry teachers.
Throughout your life, when you turn off the lights on your way to bed, you often involuntarily end up walking down the hall a little faster because there’s an image in your head to fear. Halloween celebrates that image, encourages us to add detail to it, and gives us control over it. But if we didn’t have the imagination to begin with, Hallmark would have a damned hard time making any money off of holiday.
So, while I enjoy the costumes and the trick-or-treating, the men dressed as women and the women dressed as…well…partially undressed women, those but things are fun little add-ons for me. And honestly, as a parent of four small children, I don’t usually mind too much when the passing out of candy is finished for the evening. The whole business is no small amount of works for people like us. Fun and rewarding, yes, but work nonetheless.
Long story short, it’s not the trappings of Halloween that I love so much, it’s the make-believe.
I have a very active imagination; my brain likes to make things up. For such individuals, almost every one of those made-up things starts with a dark, spooky night where the wind whistles a lonely call and things go bump, or worse. Halloween is the one holiday of the year that requires stoking that sense of imagination, and that fact scratches me right where I itch.
I love Halloween, and always have, and you can be damned sure I’m always going to celebrate it.
With as many Snickers as I can eat.
has more gravity than Earth; stuff weighs more there.
**I don’t really understand that expression, but I’m pretty sure it means since I was young.