This is Halloween! This is Halloween!
As I sit typing these words, it is Halloween. The sun is starting to set. There’s that familiar sense of anticipation in the air, the same one I felt as a child. For all lovers of Horror and all things spooky, Halloween is OUR holiday. The one night when the rest of the mundane world gets onboard with what we know, and experience, every day of the year. Halloween is magical. The ancients knew it, too. They took it way more seriously than we do.
Before there was Halloween–or Hallow’s E’en, aka All Hallow’s Evening, the night before All Hallow’s Day, or All Saints, as it is more commonly called today, the Christian holiday to remember the dead, superimposed over the preexisting pagan celebration that served the exact same function–there was Samhain (pronounced Sow-Win, I am told, and simply meaning the “end of summer”; it sounds much more sinister when it’s pronounced the way it is spelled, and when one doesn’t know the actual definition). And all the familiar tropes we enjoy, they originated with the pagans. Bonfires? Check. (Originally BONE fires.) Jack-o-lanterns? Today we use pumpkins–it’s hard to imagine using anything else–but originally they hollowed-out turnips and carved scary faces into them, placed lighted candles inside of them, to ward off evil spirits. I think the turnip-o-lanterns look WAY scarier, honestly. Like shrunken human heads denuded of skin. Cool as they look, though, I imagine they’d be much harder to carve, so I’ll stick with pumpkins.
I will wish you all a happy Halloween, even though it will be after October 31st when you all read this. For me, Halloween is an entire season, just as Christmas is. It begins on October 1st and lasts until Thanksgiving. So I hope you are having an enjoyable Halloween season.
But then again, isn’t every day Halloween for the likes of us?