Proof of our society’s decline is that Halloween has become a broad daylight event for many. – Robert Kirby
For the fourth time since I’ve been writing this blog, we’ve come around to my favorite day of the entire year – All Hallows Eve, which also happens to be my birthday. This is the forty-seventh time I’ve seen this particular day (the first one hardly counts, since I arrived less than ninety minutes before the Witching Hour), and though I no longer observe it with the wild exuberance I did in my youth I still look forward to it every year, and still enjoy all the little rituals by which we celebrate it. In last year’s Halloween column I listed a number of “spooky” columns which might put y’all in the mood, and this year I decided to expand those recommendations into a full column: Monday’s “Trick or Treat“, which you really should read if you haven’t yet.
Unfortunately, Halloween has in our culture become merely a ghost (pardon the jest) of its former self; it is now largely an adult celebration, just a second carnival out of place in mid-autumn rather than where it belongs in the dead of winter. Today’s children are completely cheated of the holiday as it was meant to be celebrated; as I wrote in “The Day of the Dead“,
…our decaying society is far too obsessed with “safety” to let the kids be kids. It’s a peculiar paradox: the Child Cultists enshrine an idealized, romanticized view of childhood “innocence” to the point of trying to force it upon young adults who have long since grown out of it, yet are so frightened of the imaginary haunts their timid souls see in every shadow that they cheat actual children of the joys of childhood…And though we once understood that an annual dose of controlled fear and mild chaos helped children to cope with the existence of Mortem Imperator Mundi in much the same way vaccines protect them from disease, we have forgotten the former (and many of us the latter as well)…
Now, more than ever, we need Halloween. Death will claim us all soon enough; it’s both foolish and counterproductive to waste one’s life trying to escape the inescapable, and to suck all the marrow out of its bones in a futile attempt to delay the inevitable. Today is the day to flirt with the Reaper, to dance on one’s own grave, to play with skulls and to have fun with the gruesome…because the more familiar one is with something, the less terror it holds. And the less we fear death, the freer we are to enjoy everything life has to offer.
Happy Halloween, Dear Readers, and Blessed Be!