An Ode to Halloween Season

The Halloween season is here…not to be confused with the Harvest season or the Christmas season or the Thanksgiving season which seem to all run simultaneously these days.  Halloween used to be a kid’s holiday with a little bit of ritualistic charm but now it is a business.

I must be one of the few people who just don’t “get” the modern take on Halloween. I enjoy the change in seasons from summer to fall and the things that we do to prepare for colder weather. Every living thing seems to go through this transition. Cows and horses and even house cats get a winter coat of heavier fur. Birds migrate and butterflies are long gone. I always put on thick layers of supple fat and, unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to come off when it gets warmer. We harvest apples and other produce. The trees change color and drop their leaves…which I refuse to rake. At my old house I had a Hickory tree in my front yard and by this time of year it had been dropping its nuts for weeks and the squirrels were having a great time. Its leaves would turn bright yellow and then fall on the next windy or rainy day. We had a bright yellow carpet stretched across the yard.

Okay…but what is it that causes us to celebrate Halloween the way we do. Some folks have gone a little crazy over the holiday. Where one carved pumpkin would be fine, they have a dozen. Houses are decked out in orange Halloween lights. We have several large costume stores that pop up in September like toadstools. People wire their front yards for sound and then broadcast creepy music or ghoulish sounds at night.

I try…really, I do try to get into it but I always see it as something that other people do so it is half-hearted. One year I actually bought a Happy Halloween pennant that hung from my mailbox….just mocking me. I always buy a couple pumpkins and stick them out on the front porch with some other fall decorations but I very rarely will carve a Jack-o-lantern and when I do it always looks happy, with a smiley face. I can’t seem to make them look scary…as evidenced by the picture above.

I actually understand the Day of the Dead thing in Mexico (or New Mexico) or some other Hispanic-culture places. But Halloween seems pointless. We really don’t know where it comes from. We aren’t commemorating dead ancestors or anything like that. Even the old Celtic festival of the same season had nothing to do with the dead or a satanic figure. I know that some churches or church leaders have a dim view of Halloween but I don’t even see the point of that.

Where I live now we don’t have Trick or Treaters because everyone has grown kids  or the houses are too far apart to make it productive — kids figure out the economics of Trick or Treating pretty fast — and we have coyotes and things roaming around in the dark. Where I used to live the only good part of Halloween was the actual Trick or Treat parade that came to the front door. Even my wife would put on her skeleton dangly earrings to greet the kids but that’s as far as she would go.  Years ago the old pagan holiday morphed into a kid’s celebration with costumes and candy. As a kid, I truly enjoyed every year’s trek up and down the street in whatever costume I managed to cobble together lugging my grocery bag full of candy. As an adult I enjoyed greeting the neighborhood kids at the door and handing out fists-full of high fructose corn syrup nuggets of one kind or another. I even enjoyed the older kids whose voices are changing and barely put up the effort at a costume because they needed one more last childhood fling.  God knows where they will be in five years.

The adult side of the holiday seems embarrassing to me and is simply morphing into a weird commercial enterprise. Somebody always has to make a buck. I think that’s what takes away from the enjoyment and robs the holiday of it’s old-fashioned charm.

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